SANDRA’S HUMMINGBIRD BUNDT CAKE

A delightful and easy cake to prepare and is super flavorful...

Servings: 12
Prep: 30 Mins.
Bake: 1Hr and 5 to 15 Mins.
 
INGREDIENTS:
 
CAKE:
 
WET
1-1/2 cups canola oil
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 mashed ripe bananas
1 (8-oz can) crushed pineapple with its juice (do not drain)
 
DRY
3 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp ground ginger
1-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1 tsp double-acting baking powder (or regular)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
 
ADDITIONS
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1 cup pecans, finely chopped
 
METHOD:
 
Preheat oven to 325F (not 350F).
 
Generously spray a bundt pan with baking spray (or use oil and then flour the pan).
 
In a large mixing bowl, use a whisk to combine all the wet ingredients. Place all the dry ingredients in a sieve and sift over wet ingredients in large bowl; use a wooden spoon to just to combine (do not over mix).  Fold in the additions.
 
Pour cake batter into the bundt pan. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour and 5 to 15 minutes (turning half way for even baking), just until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. (Do not overbake or the cake will be dry).
 
Remove hot cake from oven and place upright in bundt pan on a baking rack to cool for 30 minutes.  Invert pan to remove cake, and place on baking rack to fully cool.
 
Meanwhile, prepare the frosting shown below.
 
BUTTER CREAM FROSTING:
 
8 TB salted butter, at room temp
8 TB cream cheese, at room temp
4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 tsp vanilla extract
 
METHOD:
 
Place all frosting ingredients in a medium-size bowl. Use a hand mixer to combine, then continue beating until smooth and fluffy for about 3 minutes. Cover and set aside at room temperature until cake has fully cooled, then frost. ~ Enjoy!

MAX'S RED CURRY CHICKEN

 

Max says,
"This is the easiest, quickest and tastiest Red Curry Chicken recipe I have ever made"...

Servings: 4-6
Prep: 20 Mins.
Cook: 20 Mins.
 
INGREDIENTS:
 
2 tablespoons red curry paste
2 (13.6 oz.) cans unsweetened coconut milk
1 large chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
1 medium yellow onion, largely diced
1 carrot, sliced
3 ribs celery, sliced diagonally
¾ of a medium green bell pepper, diced
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon dried parsley
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
 
--Prepared steamed rice for serving
 
METHOD:
 
If using, cook rice according to package directions.
 
Place all curry ingredients into a medium saucepan and bring to boil; reduce heat to low and continue cooking for 10 minutes, or until vegetables reach your desired doneness (Max likes his cooked about ½ way). 

Serve over steamed rice. ~ Enjoy!

I get this Red Curry Paste
by the case
from Amazon Prime...


 

SANDRA'S CHOCOLATE BROWNIES with PEANUT BUTTER FROSTING


Servings: 9
Prep: 20 Mins.
Bake: 30 Mins.

INGREDIENTS:

Brownies:
1/2 cup salted butter, cold
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee granules
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Frosting:
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Splash of milk (only, if needed, to achieve right consistency)

METHOD:

Melt butter and chocolate chips in a small heavy-bottom saucepan over medium low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon constantly until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and add the sugar, stirring until completely dissolved.  Let cool for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350F. Prepare an 8x8" square, dark baking pan by spraying the bottom with baking spray, then lining it with parchment paper allowing it to drape over the sides (for handles); set aside.

Now that the chocolate mixture has slightly cooled in the saucepan, add the remaining brownie ingredients and stir until fully incorporated (do not over mix). Spread batter evenly into prepared baking pan, and bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on baking rack, let brownies cool completely in baking pan.

While the brownies cool, prepare the frosting. In a small bowl, add all the frosting ingredients and use a hand mixer to beat for 4 minutes, until light and fluffy. Frost the brownies while still in the baking pan. Remove the brownies (using the parchment handles to do so) to a cutting board. Cut into 9 equal squares and place them on a nice serving platter. ~ Enjoy!

SANDRA'S ROSEMARY-THYME-AGAVE NO-KNEAD OVERNIGHT CAST IRON BREAD

The best savory herb yeast bread that is so quick and easy to make...


Yield: 1 Loaf - (12 Servings)
Made with my fresh Rosemary (above)
and Thyme (below) plants...




Prep: 15 Mins.
Rise: 1 Hr.
Bake: 35 Mins.

INGREDIENTS

2 cups lukewarm water
2-1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (not rapid or instant)
1 TB agave
4-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
Mazola oil
1 TB chopped fresh rosemary (tender leaves only)
1 TB chopped fresh thyme (tender stems and leaves only)

Brushing (during and after baking):
2 tablespoons of butter, melted

METHOD

In a 2-cup glass measure, add 2 cups lukewarm water, yeast and agave; stir to combine and set aside to proof for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, add 2 cups flour and mix with kosher salt, rosemary, and thyme using a wooden spoon.  Add the proofing mixture and stir to combine, and then add the remaining 2-1/3 cups flour and stir to incorporate until mixture begins to form a ball. Cover with plastic wrap sprayed on the underside, and let proof for 8 hours (or overnight).

Oil a pre-seasoned 10" cast iron skillet on its inside bottom and sides; set aside.

Use Mazola oil to coat clean hands. Punch down dough, and it over on itself working from outside to center about 10 times. Pick up dough ball with oiled hands and form dough into a smooth ball by tucking edges underneath itself. Place into prepared 10" cast iron skillet, pressing it slightly toward the skillet edging.  Spray underside of plastic wrap, cover, and let proof for 1 hour (or until doubled in size).

Meanwhile, when there are 15 minutes left of proofing - preheat oven to 400F.

When 1-hour (or doubled in size) rising of loaf is compete, use a sharp knife to cut and 'X' 1/4" deep across the top of loaf.

Bake for 15 minutes, and removed hot bread to brush top evenly with melted butter.  Return bread to oven and continue to bake for 20 minutes longer (internal temp should be 192F).  Remove from and brush with melted butter a second time.

Let loaf rest 5 minutes in cast iron skillet. Use a knife to ensure edges are loosened. Flip bread out onto a baking rack, and turn right side up. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let cool. ~ Enjoy!

Tip: 

If you do not have fresh herbs and are intending on using dry:

--When converting fresh herbs to dry, it's 1TB fresh (or 1 tsp dry). 

That is, 1 TB of fresh rosemary above would be converted to 1 tsp dry rosemary; same for the thyme.

SANDRA'S CHRISTMAS MORNING CASSEROLE

 
This was a new creation this Christmas Eve 'evening,' and
I baked the casserole off Christmas morning.

The husband had two helpings and I loved it as well, so this recipe
will be a new tradition as it's a keeper...

Servings: (8)
Prep: 20 Mins.
Bake: 60 Mins.
 
INGREDIENTS:
 
Layers:
2 tablespoons softened butter
7 slices whole wheat bread, cut into ½” cubes
4 slices cooked bacon, chopped into bits
 
Custard:
6 large eggs, beaten
2 cups 2% milk
1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
1 teaspoon dry mustard
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
 
Topping:
½ cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
1 large roma tomato, cut into 8 slices (reserve, will be added in the morning just before baking)
 
METHOD:
 
Using baking spray, spray a glass 9x13” baking dish; set aside.
 
Lay out the 7 slices of whole wheat bread and evenly spread one side with softened butter. Stack the slices and cut all into 1/2“ cubes.  Spread cubes evenly in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the bacon bits evenly over the bread cubes.
 
In a large bowl, beat the eggs, whisk in the milk, 1 cup of shredded cheese, the dry mustard, and ground pepper until evenly combined. Pour custard mixture evenly over the contents of the casserole.
 
Top with remaining ½ cup of shredded cheese, cover with parchment then foil, and place in refrigerator a minimum of 8 hours or overnight.



In the morning, preheat oven to 350F.
 
Uncover the casserole and add the tomato slices on top (see photo).  Re-cover the casserole and bake for 45 minutes, turning halfway through this baking time.  Uncover and continue baking for 15 minutes.  Remove hot casserole to a baking rack to cool for 10 minutes prior to slicing and serving. ~ Enjoy!
 



SANDRA'S HOT ARTICHOKE BASIL DIP

I have quite a few fresh basil plants always growing,
so decided to try it in my traditional hot artichoke dip recipe
(instead of spinach) and we love it...




Yield: 6-8 Servings
Prep: 10 Mins.
Bake: 25 Mins.

INGREDIENTS

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
2/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese (not grated)
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground pepper
1 (14 oz.-can) quartered artichoke hearts, drained, then chop each heart crosswise 4 times
2 tablespoons freshly chopped basil

METHOD

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 9 x 9" baking dish with oil; set aside.

In a medium-size mixing bowl, stir together cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, granulated garlic, parmesan, mozzarella, lemon juice, and pepper. Fold in artichokes and basil.


Spread mixture into prepared baking dish. Bake in preheated oven, uncovered, for 25 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes.

Serve with Ritz and/or Club crackers, toasted baguette slices, tortilla chips, bagel chips, pita chips, etc. ~ Enjoy!

SANDRA'S RASPBERRY ALMOND BUTTER COOKIES


The ultimate butter cookie with a sweet treat of
raspberry flavor in its center and the added crunch of finely diced almonds...



Yield: Appx. 4 doz.
Prep: 15 Mins
Chill: 1 Hr
Roll: 30 Mins
Bake:

INGREDIENTS

1 cup salted butter, room temp
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup raspberry jam, cold
1/3 cup finely chopped raw, unsalted, almonds (from Costco)

METHOD

In a stand mixer with the beater attachment, cream together softened butter and sugar for 5 minutes until light, yellow and fluffy; scraping sides of bowl several times throughout.

Add the beaten egg and vanilla extract; mix to combine. Again, scraping bowl to evenly incorporate.

Add the flour. Start mixer on low to begin combining, then on high just until incorporated (do not over mix dough).

Place dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap, cover completely and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, prepare to bake the cookies. Preheat the oven to 350F.

Pinch off small pieces of dough and form 1-teaspoon-size balls. Place balls 1" apart on a silpat-lined baking sheet, and flatten slightly with your hand.  Bake for 8 minutes.  Remove baking sheet from oven, use a wooden spoon to indent the center of cookie half way through, place 1/4 teaspoon of cold raspberry jam in the indent center, and top that with finely chopped almonds. Place cookies back in oven, and continue baking for an additional 8 minutes.

Remove cookies from oven and let them cool for 1 minute on baking sheet. Remove cookies to a baking rack to completely cool.  Repeat with remaining batter. Once cookies are fully cooled, place in an airtight container. ~ Enjoy!

SANDRA’S EASIEST and BEST APPLE PIE EVER

Best compliment ever, the hubs said,
"This is the best apple pie I've ever had,
I need to go back to Fred Meyer and get more apples!"...


Servings: (8)
Prep: 20 Mins.
Bake: 1 Hr.

INGREDIENTS:

Filling:
7 medium apples 
    (I used Kroger, aka Fred Meyer Brand), peeled, cored and cut into 1/8-1/4" slices=about 5 cups sliced
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1-1/2 tsp apple pie spice
1 tsp lemon juice
1 TB all-purpose flour

Topping:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup old fashion oats (not quick cooking)
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup melted, salted butter, slightly cooled
1 large egg, beaten

METHOD:

Preheat oven to 350F. Set a 10" glass pie plate aside.

Add all filling ingredients to a medium bowl, toss to combine and set aside to allow them to meld for 10 minutes; toss occasionally.

In the meantime, add all the topping ingredients to a small bowl; mix to combine (it will be paste-like in appearance).

Pour filling mixture into the pie plate, and press slightly to evenly distribute.  Add the topping using a fork to evenly distribute and cover apple filling mixture.

Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour, turning half way for even baking.  

Let hot pie cool, uncovered, on baking rack for 4 hours before serving to allow filling to fully set. 

Serve with French vanilla ice cream. 

Store any leftovers covered in refrigerator. ~ Enjoy!

----

Tip: To reheat at room temp, microwave for 30 seconds; from frig it takes about 50 seconds!


SANDRA'S TERRIFIC TACO SOUP

Such comfort on a rainy day...been our favorite for years...
Servings: (8)
Prep: 15 Mins.
Cook: 30 Mins.

INGREDIENTS

1 lb. lean ground moose, venison, or beef
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, scrubbed and grated
2 TB dry taco seasoning
1/2 TB chili powder
1 TB dry ranch seasoning
1 14.5-oz. can diced Mexican tomatoes, do not drain
1 14.5-oz. can chili beans, drained and rinsed
1 14.5-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15-oz. can tomato sauce
4 cups water
1 tsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1 2.25-oz. can sliced black olives, drained (optional)
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1/2-1 TB diced jarred pickled jalapeños, depending on your desired spiciness

Toppings:
--Shredded sharp cheddar cheese
--Lime Crema (1 cup sour cream mixed with 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice and 1/4 teaspoon lime zest)
--Tortilla chips

METHOD

In a medium heavy-bottom saucepan, brown the burger over medium-high heat. Add the onions and shredded carrots and continue cooking for 5 minutes, while occasionally stirring. Add the remaining ingredients in order listed. Stir, bring soup to a boil. Cover, and reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for 20 minutes; stir occasionally. 


Ladle soup into serving bowls.


Top each bowl with shredded cheese and a dollop of lime crema, then place tortilla chips on the side. ~ Enjoy! 

SANDRA'S STRAWBERRY-RHUBARB BUNDT CAKE with BUTTERCREAM FROSTING

A cake you will probably want to prepare 'yearly' when
rhubarb and strawberries
 are in season
that your family is bound to love...
 

Prep: 25 Mins.
Bake: 65 to 70 Mins.
Yields: (1) Bundt Cake| 12-16 Servings

INGREDIENTS

Wet:
3 large eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
2 cups granulated sugar
*2 (5.3-oz. containers) Chobani Peach 99% Greek yogurt - (Costco) = neutral flavor
3 teaspoons vanilla extract

Dry (Sifted through a sieve atop wet ingredients):
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon double-acting baking powder, or regular
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

Fold-in:
1 cup finely diced fresh rhubarb
1-1/2 cup chopped fresh strawberries (Alaska Wild, or domestic)

------

Buttercream Frosting:
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1/3 cup room temp. cream cheese
1/4 cup room temp. salted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons 2% milk (more or less to your desired consistency)

METHOD

Preheat oven to 325 degrees (not 350 degrees or else the loaves will become too dry).  Prepare bundt pan by spraying it generously with baking spray; set aside.

In a mixing bowl of a stand mixer, add eggs and canola oil and beat on medium speed until light and foamy.  Add sugar, yogurt and vanilla extract; mix on medium speed until fully incorporated.

Place a sieve over wet ingredients in bowl, add all dry ingredients and sift over top of wet ingredients. Mix batter on low speed to begin incorporating dry ingredients, then on medium just until moistened (Try not to over-mix).

Using a large spatula, fold in "fold-in" ingredients above, just until combined while scraping edges and bottom of bowl.

Spoon batter evenly into prepared bundt pan, tap pan on a hard surface to release air bubbles and shake to it even out.

Bake for 65 to 70 minutes, just until a toothpick inserted in center of bundt cake comes out clean.

Remove bundt cake to a baking rack upright in pan and let cool for 10 minutes.  Turn out bundt cake from pan to rack so cake is dome-side up; cover with a clean kitchen towel, then allow cake to cool completely.

-----

Meanwhile, prepare frosting:

In a medium bowl, using a hand mixer. Place all the frosting ingredients into the bowl and start hand mixer on low speed, then increase to medium when ingredients are starting to incorporate. Turn mixer to high to fluff the frosting. Cover frosting with plastic wrap until ready to frost cake. Frost cake once it's fully cooled, and enjoy!


Sandra’s Homemade Salsa Verde

Excellent as a dip with tortilla chips,
with tacos, enchiladas, or over eggs for breakfast, etc...

Yield: 2 ½ cups salsa

Ingredients

1 ½ pounds tomatillos (about 12 medium), husked and rinsed
1 to 2 medium jalapeños, stemmed, (depending on your desired spiciness)
½ cup chopped white onion
¼ cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
1 to 2 medium limes, juiced, to taste
½ to 1 teaspoon salt, to taste

Optional: 1 to 2 diced avocados, for creamy avocado salsa verde

Method

Preheat the broiler with a rack about 4 inches below the heat source.

Place the tomatillos and jalapeño(s) on a rimmed baking sheet and broil until they’re blackened in spots, about 5 minutes.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven, carefully flip over the tomatillos and pepper(s) with tongs and broil for 4 to 6 more minutes, until the tomatillos are splotchy-black and blistered.

Meanwhile, in a food processor or blender, combine the chopped onion, cilantro, 2 tablespoons lime juice and ½ teaspoon salt. Once the tomatillos are out of the oven, carefully transfer the hot tomatillos, pepper(s) and all of their juices into the food processor or blender.

Pulse until the mixture is mostly smooth and no big chunks of tomatillo remain, scraping down the sides as necessary. Season to taste with additional lime juice and salt, if desired.

The salsa will be thinner at first, but will thicken up after a few hours in the refrigerator, due to the naturally occurring pectin in the tomatillos.

Optional: If you’d like to make creamy avocado salsa verde, let the salsa cool down before blending in 1 to 2 diced avocados.

SANDRA'S HOT ARTICHOKE-SPINACH DIP

My best recipe for this dip without a lot of frills
to let the artichoke and spinach flavors shine through...
Yield: 6-8 Servings
Prep: 10 Mins.
Bake: 25 Mins.

INGREDIENTS

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 garlic clove, grated
2/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground pepper
1 (14 oz.-can) quartered artichoke hearts, drained, then chop each heart crosswise 4 times
6 oz. frozen spinach, thawed, then squeezed to drain excess liquid, and chopped finer

METHOD

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 9 x 9" baking dish with oil; set aside.

In a medium-size mixing bowl, stir together cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, garlic, parmesan, mozzarella, lemon juice, and pepper. Fold in artichokes and spinach.


Spread mixture into prepared baking dish. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes.

Serve with Ritz and/or Club crackers, toasted baguette slices, tortilla chips, bagel chips, pita chips, etc. ~ Enjoy!

Sandra’s Chilled Oolong-Citrus Tea

The perfect blend of flavors
without being overly sweet...
Yield: 7 cups
Prep: 5 Mins.
Steep: 1 Hr.
Chill: 1Hr.

Ingredients

  • 7 cups filtered water, divided

  • 3 Oolong tea bags

  • 2 lemons, juiced and strained

  • 2 TB orange juice, strained of pulp

  • 3 Tablespoons of Agave
Steps

  1. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat and add tea bags. Let the tea steep for 1 hour. When finished brewing, squeeze, then toss the tea bags.

  2. Meanwhile, juice your lemons and strain the seeds and pulp. Strain the orange juice.

  3. Once the tea is brewed, mix with 3 cups of remaining cold water in a pitcher. Add lemon and orange juice, and Agave, then stir. Do a taste test and add more Agave if needed.

  4. Chill, covered, for 1 hour to let flavors meld, then serve (over ice, or not). ~ Enjoy!

Sandra's Herb Dipping Oil/Sauce (for Homemade Bread)

A delicious appetizer for your guests
 pre-dinner with warm bread right out of the oven for dipping,
along with a nice glass of wine...
Yield: 1 cup
Prep: 5 Mins.
Let Stand: 2 Hrs.

Serve with:
Sandra's No-Knead Rosemary-Agave Bread(in a Cast Iron Skillet)
Click here for recipe!!
INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup Mazola oil
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 TB dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 TB grated Parmesan cheese

METHOD

Place all ingredients into a 1/2-pint Mason glass mason jar, cover with lid and ring. Shake vigorously, then set aside for a minimum of 2 hours at room temperature for flavors to meld.

Shake before serving with your favorite, warm homemade bread. ~ Enjoy!

SANDRA'S EASY NO-KNEAD ROSEMARY-AGAVE BREAD (In a Cast Iron Skillet)

A 10" cast iron skillet is a must to provide this most-excellent bread
with the perfect crust it so deserves. It's an easy recipe
that you'll be making time and time again...


Yield: 1 Loaf - (12 Servings)
Made with my fresh Rosemary
(this is one of three plants...all are hearty
and doing absolutely fabulous!
)
Prep: 15 Mins.
Rise: 1 Hr.
Bake: 35 Mins.

INGREDIENTS

2 cups lukewarm water
2-1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (not rapid or instant)
1 TB agave
4-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
Mazola oil
1 TB chopped fresh rosemary

Brushing (during and after baking):
2 tablespoons of butter, melted

METHOD

In a 2-cup glass measure, add 2 cups lukewarm water, yeast and agave; stir to combine and set aside to proof for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, add 2 cups flour and mix with kosher salt and rosemary using a wooden spoon.  Add the proofing mixture and stir to combine, and then add the remaining 2-1/3 cups flour and stir to incorporate until mixture begins to form a ball. Cover with plastic wrap sprayed on the underside, and let proof for 8 hours (or overnight).

Oil a pre-seasoned 10" cast iron skillet on its inside bottom and sides; set aside.

Use Mazola oil to coat clean hands. Punch down dough, and it over on itself working from outside to center about 10 times. Pick up dough ball with oiled hands and form dough into a smooth ball by tucking edges underneath itself. Place into prepared 10" cast iron skillet, pressing it slightly toward the skillet edging.  Spray underside of plastic wrap, cover, and let proof for 1 hour (or until doubled in size).

Meanwhile, when there are 15 minutes left of proofing - preheat oven to 400F.

When 1-hour (or doubled in size) rising of loaf is compete, use a sharp knife to cut and 'X' 1/4" deep across the top of loaf.

Bake for 15 minutes, and removed hot bread to brush top evenly with melted butter.  Return bread to oven and continue to bake for 20 minutes longer (internal temp should be 192F).  Remove from and brush with melted butter a second time.

Let loaf rest 5 minutes in cast iron skillet. Use a knife to ensure edges are loosened. Flip bread out onto a baking rack, and turn right side up. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let cool. ~ Enjoy!


Tip: When cleaning bread bowls and utensils used in preparing bread dough, soak them in hot water for 10 minutes beforehand. Do not use your kitchen brush, sponge or dishcloth; it will ruin them. Instead, use your fingers to do so. First, pour out hot water, then loosen the dough using your fingers and warm water. Then clean them with soapy water as usual.


Click title for recipe!!



SANDRA’S DECADENTLY EASY FRENCH ONION SOUP


This quick and easy French Onion Soup
is loaded with caramelized onions in an aromatic beef broth,
then topped with rye croutons and melty gooey cheese…

Servings: (4)
Prep: 5 Mins
Cook: 50 Mins
Broil: 1-2 Mins

INGREDIENTS

3 medium yellow onions, sliced thin lengthwise into 1/8” strips
3 tablespoons salted butter
½ teaspoon agave
2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves (not ground)
1 large dry bay leaf
1/2 cup red wine (I used Pinot Noir)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups low-sodium beef broth
1 teaspoon Worcestershire
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

--4 slices toasted rye bread croutons (make in toaster, then cut into 1” cubes)
--8 slices Swiss cheese

METHOD

In a large pot melt butter, and add onions, agave, thyme leaves, and bay leaf. Cook over medium high heat while stirring often, for about 40 minutes until onions are amber in color and caramelized.

Add red wine and stir, breaking up any browned bits on the bottom of pan. Cook to let liquid reduce to half the amount, about 1 minute. Sprinkle with flour, stirring to coat.

Pour in beef broth, Worcestershire and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 5 minutes. Discard bay leaf.

Meanwhile turn your oven on to broil, placing top rack 6” under broiler element.

Place four oven-safe bowls on a foil lined baking sheet. Ladle soup into bowls, divide the prepared rye croutons among the bowls, and top each bowl with two slices of Swiss cheese. Carefully place in preheated oven and broil until cheese is melted and bubbly, about 1-2 minutes (watch closely).

Use caution when serving, as the bowls will be very hot. ~ Enjoy!



SANDRA'S KIELBASA CABBAGE SWEET POTATO SOUP over STEAMED RICE

A comforting, hearty and tasty soup filled with brightly contrasting flavors
sure to have you and your family/friends going back for seconds...
Serves: 10 to 12
Prep: 15 Mins.
Cook: 30 Mins.

INGREDIENTS

Sauté:
1 lb. Smoked Kielbasa, sliced into 1/4" medallions
2 TB Mazola oil
1/2 white onion, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
2 carrots, scrubbed and sliced into 1/2" rounds
2 stalks celery, diced
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" thick cubes
1 pkg. shredded cabbage
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 TB Italian herb seasoning blend
1/2 tsp ground/dry mustard
1/2 tsp smoked paprika

Broth:
10 cups low-sodium beef broth
1 (14.5 oz can) Italian diced tomatoes, undrained
3 TB ketchup
1 tsp agave
1 TB Worcestershire
1 TB fresh lemon juice

Finish (off heat):
2 TB red wine vinegar
1 TB cold butter

--For Serving:
Pre-cooked hot steamed rice

Garnish:
Fresh basil, julienned

METHOD

Place a large stockpot over medium-high heat with 2 TB oil, add the sausage and sauté until browned.  Add the remaining 'sauté' ingredients in order listed, stirring with each addition, and sauté all for a total of 10 minutes.

Add all the 'broth' ingredients in order listed to the stockpot; stir to combine.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes, or until carrots and sweet potatoes are tender.

Remove stockpot from heat, uncover, and add the 'finishing' ingredients, stirring until cold butter is incorporated.


To serve, place hot rice in a mound in the middle of each serving bowl, ladle soup around the rice, and top with freshly julienned basil. ~ Enjoy!


SANDRA’S SCALLOPED POTATOES ALFREDO-AU GRATIN

The easiest, albeit most satisfying, side dish
that will be on your meal menu rotation, I’m sure...
Servings: 8
Prep: 10 Mins
Bake: 1 Hr 20 Mins
Let Stand: 15 Mins

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 lb. Yellow potatoes (about 5 medium), peeled and sliced 1/8” thin

  • 1 ¾ c. shredded Mexican-blend cheese, divided

  • 1 jar Alfredo Sauce (15.45 oz.)...[I used Bertolli]

  • ½ c. chopped red onion

  • 1/2 c. 2% milk

  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne

  • 1/8 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg

  • 1 tsp Johnny’s Seasoning

  • 1 tsp Old Bay Seasoning


METHOD
Heat oven to 350F. Coat a 9x13” glass baking dish with canola spray.
Peel and thinly slice potatoes using a mandoline or knife to 1/8.” Reserve 1/2 cup cheese. Mix potato slices with remaining ingredients in large bowl. Spoon into prepared baking dish. Cover, layered with parchment paper, then foil; bake 1 hour.
Remove parchment paper and foil from baking dish; sprinkle with reserved 1/2 cup of cheese. Bake 20 minutes more until potatoes are tender and mixture is bubbly. Let stand 15 minutes before serving. ~ Enjoy!

SANDRA'S CHOCOLATE GLAZED BABY BANANA-WHEAT DONUTS

Sandra's Chocolate Glazed Baby Banana-Wheat Donuts

The most addicting, ever!
As with most cake-like donuts, they should be eaten
the same day they are made for the best results and flavor...

Yield: (Appx. 24 Baby Donuts)
Prep: 10 Mins.
Bake: 10-12 Mins. per batch

INGREDIENTS

Special equipment: 2 Mini Donut Tins (12/batch for a total of 24 baby donuts)

Batter:
1 large egg, beaten
1-1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 ripe banana, mashed
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1-1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder (or regular)

METHOD

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spot spray with Bakers Joy each mini donut tin cup; set aside (or with oil then dusted with flour) -- this process will be repeated for each batch to prevent baby donuts from sticking.

In a medium bowl, add egg and beat with a fork. Add in milk, vegetable oil, mashed banana and vanilla extract, mix with hand mixer to combine. Add in remaining batter ingredients; and using a wooden spoon mix just until combined (do not over mix). Pour batter into a large Ziploc bag, snip one corner, then fill each cup in mini donut tin, about 3/4's full.

Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, until they're light golden on top and slightly brown on edges, and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Place a clean kitchen towel on counter. While hot, tip muffin tin over on its side so hot donut holes fall out onto kitchen towel. Carefully flip hot donuts over to cool. 

Meanwhile, prepare the chocolate glaze below:

Chocolate Glaze

1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons milk or water
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract.

In a medium bowl, whisk together powdered sugar and cocoa powder.  Slowly stir in milk and vanilla extract.  Whisk until silky and smooth.  If you need a touch more milk to make this a dippable glaze, add a bit more.

Dip donuts in chocolate glaze then let rest to harden. Leave donuts uncovered to prevent condensation.

Donuts are best served the day they’re made.  They also freeze just fine! ~ Enjoy!

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