Thursday, November 20, 2014

Bacon Jam

Makes 1 cup (can be doubled or tripled)
1/2 pound thick-cut bacon, cut into 3/4-inch pieces 
1 small sweet onions, peeled and thinly sliced
1 large bunch of fresh chopped chives
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons spicy stone ground mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
pinch of Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to brown and crisp, 15 to 20 minutes. Keep all the bacon fat in the pan; do not discard.

Lower the heat to medium low. Stir in the onions, and cook until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the chives, maple syrup, vinegar, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Pour in 1/2 cup of water and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally if necessary. Cook until the the jam has a glossy appearance and syrup-like consistency, about 30 minutes to an  hour, it should be thick and chunky, not a paste. Allow the mixture to cool for 20 to 30 minutes.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

TWD: "Baking with Julia" - Amaretti Cookies

We made Amaretties this week as our group recipe  "Baking with Julia" - pages 320-321

WE love these little yummy cookies. We make these often for all the holidays using a wide variety of add ins, but I have to admit our favorite is to add chunks of cherry and dip them in White Chocolate.

The top picture is the plain and cherry chunk variety and the bottom picture is plain with Hersey kiss for  Thanksgiving and the cherry & white chocolate for Christmas

WE are having so much fun hanging out with the group and You can too... Everyone is welcome, check out other fans and fun recipes at  "Tuesday's with Dori".

Monday, November 17, 2014

Make-Over Monday - Garlic & Chive Hamburger Buns (using "Sponge" start)


  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (110° to 115°) (instead of Milk or Cream)
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 to 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour



  • In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add oil and sugar; let stand for 5 minutes. Add the egg, salt and enough flour to form a soft dough. 
  • Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 3-5 minutes. Do not let rise. Divide into 12 pieces; shape each into a ball. Place 3 in. apart on greased baking sheets.
  • Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Bake at 425° for 8-12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool.
  • Yield: 12 to 18 buns 
Nutritional Facts: 1 serving (1 each) equals 195 calories, 7 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 18 mg cholesterol, 204 mg sodium, 29 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 5 g protein.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Calzones - (using "biga start)

They say that in order for a calzone to be a "real" calzone, you can not put sauce on the inside.. 
For the Ferment (biga)
1 teaspoon of dry yeast
8 Tablespoons of lukewarm water
1-1/2 cups white bread flour

Dissolve the yeast in the water, add the flour and work it with a wooden spoon until you have thick batter. Cover it with plastic wrap and let rest in the fridge overnight or at room temperature for 2 1/2 -3 hours, or until bubbly and risen.

1 recipe of active 60% hydrated biga (see recipe above)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup precooked mild Italian sausage
1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms (optional)
1 tablespoon dried basil leaves
1 egg, beaten

 To Make Filling: While dough is rising, combine the ricotta cheese, Cheddar cheese, pepperoni, mushrooms and basil leaves in a large bowl. Mix well, cover bowl and chill.

To Make Dough: 
In the your bowl of biga,  Add the oil, sugar and salt; mix in 1 cup of the flour until smooth. Gradually stir in the rest of the flour, until dough is smooth and workable. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface for about 5 minutes, or until it is elastic. Lay dough in a bowl containing 1 teaspoon olive oil, then flip the dough, cover and let rise for 40 minutes, or until almost doubled.
When dough is ready, Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) and punch dough down and separate it into 6-8 equal parts. Roll parts out into thin circles on a lightly floured surface. Fill each circle with 2-3 tablspoons of the cheese/meat filling and fold over, securing edges by folding in and pressing with a fork. Brush the top of each calzone with egg and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 30 minutes. Serve hot.

Friday, November 14, 2014

"FFWD" - Pan-Seared Duck Breasts with Kumquats.

        Our "French Friday's with Dorie" Group challenge this week was pan-seared duck breasts with kumquats. Never could find any kumquats here at the beach, so we used mandarin oranges. This dish was sooooo yummy and will be making it again very soon.
       We really liked the taste a fruity smoothness of the orange sauce. I think the next time we make it we may use a blend of mulling spices instead of the coriander, no particular reason only to see the difference in flavors. 
      This particular recipe can be found in Dories Greespan's cookbook, “Around My French Table” or here at Epicurious where it has been published. You can also check us out on the FrenchFridays web-page

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls - (using poolish)

2 tablespoons dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1 cup scalded milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup soft butter
1 teaspoon salt 
1 egg
7 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup fresh ground  whole wheat flour

1 cup melted butter
1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons ground cinnamon 
1 cup raisins, walnuts, or pecans, optional

4 tablespoons butter2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon Almond extract
4 tablespoons half & half


Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

For Poolish ~ In a small bowl, dissolve 1 tablespoon yeast, sugar and salt in warm water and add 2 cups all-purpose flour, mix well and set aside for a least 4 hours (overnight is best). 
Next morning, in a large bowl mix milk, the other tablespoon of yeast, melted butter, and egg. Mix until will combined, add poolish and stir. Now add 2 cups of flour and mix until smooth. Mix in remaining all purpose flour until dough is easy to handle. Knead dough on lightly whole wheat floured surface for 5 to 10 minutes. You may need to keep dusting your dough until it is know longer sticky. Place in well-greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled in size, usually 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

When doubled in size, punch dough down and divide in half. Roll half out on a floured surface into a 15 by 9-inch rectangle. Spread 1/2 cup melted butter all over dough. Mix sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle half the mix over buttered dough. Sprinkle with walnuts, pecans, or raisins if desired. Beginning at the 15-inch side, role up dough and pinch edge together to seal. Cut into 12 to 15 slices. Repeat with the other half of the dough.
 Coat the bottom of baking pan with butter and sprinkle with sugar. Place cinnamon roll slices close together in the pan and let rise until dough is doubled, about 45 minutes. Bake on 350* for about 30 -40 minutes or until nicely browned.
While the Cinnamon rolls are cooling, mix butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Add half & half 1 tablespoon at a time until the glaze reaches desired consistency. Spread over slightly cooled rolls.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

TWD: BCM#1 - "Palets de Dames", Lille Style

Yesterday our "Tuesday's with Dorie" Group started enjoying the recipes from Dorie Greenspan's new cookbook Baking Chez Moi. I held off one more day hoping that my copy would be here, but no.... I am so excited... I couldn't wait any longer. So today, we give you "Palets de Dames", Lille Style. This recipe is posted on the book’s Amazon page as a sample recipe. These yummy little cookies are very easy to make and really hit the spot if you are craving something tiny and sweet.

We enjoyed our with sprinkles and chocolate shavings. Even though these little gems were easy to make they were not a big hit at my house, so not sure if I will make them again unless for a wedding or possibly a baby shower.

If you are interested in joining our new cookbook group or just looking for the recipe or more information, check us out at

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Homemade Cheez-its & Cheddar Puffs

We decided it was a "Toss Together Tuesday" kind of day and we decided to make Homemade Cheez-its and Cheddar Puffs. They are so easy to make and very tasty. I was surprised at how close they taste to regular store bought crackers.


10 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons heavy cream 
1 tablespoon water                                                  1 egg white
Any assorted eatable seeds and or spices., like sunflower, sesame seed, poppy or pumkin seeds...


1. in a clean and very dry food processor mix the cheese, butter, flour and salt pulsing on low speed until combined and course in texture. Slowly add 2 tablespoons of the heavy cream and mix as the dough forms a ball. If needed, add the additional tablespoon of water a little at a time until the dough forms. Divide the dough into two small balls, wrap with plastic wrap, you can refrigerate and keep dough for up to three days. 
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two Large baking sheets with parchment paper.  Next roll each  dough ball into a very thin 10x12-inch rectangle (the dough should be no more than ⅛-inch high). In bowl, beat egg white and water until foamy, brush on top of dough. Using a fluted pastry wheel, cut the rectangles into 1-inch squares, then transfer them to the baking sheets. Sprinkle with assorted seeds and or spices.
3. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, or until puffed and browning at the edges. Immediately move the crackers to wire racks to cool completely, then store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Make-Over Monday - Mini Quiches (Gluten Free)

Here's a yummy flavor packed quiche that is crust-less and gluten free. Great for both appetizers or tasty treats on a brunch buffets.


  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 or 2 fresh parsley stems finely chopped
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1/4 diced ham
  • 1/4 cup diced red pepper
  • 1/4 cup diced sweet onion
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup diced smoked cheese of choice 
  • Preparation 

    1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (190°C). Lightly spray two 12-cup muffin pans with cooking spray 

    2. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, salt, and pepper.
    3.  Add a few small pieces of  each of the diced ingredients and a generous portion of cheese to each of the oiled muffin cups. Pour the egg mixture over the diced items and cheese in each cup, filling as many as you can to 3/4 full.

    4. Bake until the tops are puffed and just beginning to brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to wire racks and let cool for about 5 minutes, then turn the quiches out of the pans, arrange on a platter or individual plates, and serve.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

PANE ALL'OLIO - (using "biga" start)

Here is my first loaf of PANE ALL'OLIO using a fresh biga at 60% hydration.

For the Ferment (biga)
1 teaspoon of dry yeast
8 Tablespoons of lukewarm water
1-1/2 cups white bread flour

Dissolve the yeast in the water, add the flour and work it with a wooden spoon until you have thick batter. Cover it with plastic wrap and let rest in the fridge overnight or at room temperature for 2 1/2 -3 hours, or until bubbly and risen.

For the Dough
The risen ferment, at room temperature (make sure to take it out of the fridge 1 hour before kneading if you
rested it overnight)
6 tablespoons of warm water
4 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
2-1/2 cups white bread flour plus 3 or 4 tablespoons more if the enough is too sticky.
2 teaspoons of salt

1.  In a large bowl, dissolve the water, sugar and salt together.
2. Add the oil, the risen ferment and the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until well combined.
3. Tip the dough onto a floured surface and knead well for 5 minutes. If the dough feels to sticky , add a little flour. Bare in mid that this is supposed to be a soft dough, but should not be sticky and come away easily from your fingers.

4. Stretch the dough into a rectangle,  Roll into a ball, place in a large , oiled container. Cover with a damp tea-towel and leave it to prove at room temperature for 1 hour. take the dough out of the container, knock it back, stretch it into a rectangle and then shape back into a ball. Place the dough back into the oiled container and leave to prove for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until it has doubled in size.
5. Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 2 or 3 ball of dough, depending on the size of loaves you are after.
6.  Leave the dough to proof for 30-45 minutes on an oven tray or what ever container you are going to bake it in lined with parchment paper. Bring your oven to 375 F.
7. Just before baking, score the breads to your liking and bake until it reaches your desired doneness.

Friday, November 7, 2014

"FFWD" - Jerusalem Artichoke Soup with Parsley Coulis

I love traveling during the week because that means that I am back home for "French Friday's with Dorie". This week we are kicking our November month off with Jerusalem Artichoke Soup with Parsley Coulis. This soup is very hearty and thick. It is great as the whole meal with some yummy homemade bread or sweet potato biscuits. If you are interested in the recipe, you can find it in Dorie Greenspan's cookbook "Around My French Table" on page 76 or come join our cooking blog and cook with us all at

Also if you would like more information about these yummy little tubers visit our Wordless Wednesday Challenge post entitled Jerusalem Artichokes

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Highlights of the Coronado Room in Tusayan, AZ

         This upscale fine dinning restaurant is located in the Best Western Spire Hotel in Tusayan, AZ. We were looking for a place to get some yummy prime rib for dinner and this seemed to be the only place in town.

The atmosphere was very nice and matched the quality of our stay at the hotel. But we found it to be a little expensive for the quality of food that we received. Complementary breads at the beginning were very tasty, but was not served with enough butter to go around. We ordered a Salad, which by the way was not included in the price of our meal, and yet it was a very tasty mix of fresh sliced veggies arranged on a bed of spring mix and arugula. Our Prime rib was cooked way beyond to our desired doneness, served with a sloppy presented baked potato and burnt fresh snapped green beans. Not sure that we will pay the prices for a return trip.... :)

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Biga -vs- Poolish

       Not to long after I joined the Artisan Bread Baking Group on Facebook, I realized that I was way behind in my bread making knowledge. I have recently come to the conclusion that we could spent a month of Saturday's discussing all the different ways you can get bread to rise. I have learned that bakers take hydration and fermentation very seriously. So, today, for our Super Saturday Cooking School session we thought we would try and give some cause and effect reasoning to a few of these methods used in bread making...

To start off with we need to explain that Preferment is any bread making technique that combines a moderate percentage of flour with a tiny amount of leavening and a small amount water and lets it develop for a period of time, anywhere from an 1 hour to a week or two, unlike a sourdough start that can be kept active for years. Biga and poolish are both types of this preferment and they can both be made from another type of flour than the one you are using for the actual bread. For example, you can use spelt, rye or whole wheat flour to add different flavours to our bread.

Biga ---- (Italian) is generally lower hydration at about 60 to 70 percent hydration, which make it a firmer start. The main function of a Biga is to enhance the strength of the dough, but also has a positive influence of coaxing the flavor out of the starches of a well maintained start and is often used in those breads that need a light, open texture with holes.  Many of these breads include the popular Italian breads, such as ciabatta or pane all'olio. Biga also helps to preserve the bread by making it less perishable.

Poolish ---- (Polish/Austrian) is generally 100 percent hydration which creates a very soupy start. Usually a poolish is fermented at room temperature and the amount of yeast used depends on the time you want to ferment the poolish, meaning less yeast needs more time. You get a richer flavour due to increased acidicity and you gain a longer shelf life.

Sponge ---- (English) is like a poolish but contains all of the water and is quite thin and runny

Pate Fermentee ---- (French) is also considered a firmer start, but greatly differs from the Biga. It is usually purpose-made and includes salt. It is kneaded a bit then put in the fridge overnight or for a few days. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Meet "Joe Vest" food Dummy extraordinaire

Today we, the American Red Cross ERV (Emergency Response Vehicle) driving and feeding team got together for a bite to eat and get to know the "new people" party. Thanks to everyone who helped make our cookout today a success. Our special food handling guest brought a light hearted Halloween twist to our party... Meet "Joe Vest" 

We, as a response team, are always practicing to be prepared in the event of of a disaster whether it be a house fire, tornado or hurricane..... Etc.  And the ERV 1205 stands ready to serve her town and nation as needed. When you see her going down the road know the people inside truly care.
We volunteers look to each other for ideas and support and we look to you, our public, for donations. If you are interested in volunteering some of your time, you can find us or your local chapter at

Friday, October 24, 2014

"French Fridays with Dorie" - Cannelés

We are doing a little french baking today in honor of a wonderful chef and her new cookbook coming out this week. Even though, we have not yet met Dorie Greenspan in person, I love her creativity and yummy goodness that comes from her kitchen through her books and the wisdom she shares with our group.
I chose to make the Cannelés, these are new for us here at the pantry. They turned out very classy and yummy... Since we don't cook with rum, My little twist on these sweet treats is I replaced the dark rum with some new coconut balsamic that I just acquired. Yummy....... 
Happy Birthday Dorie!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

"Tuesday's with Dorie" - Puff Pastry Pizzettes

Now for the savory side of our puff pastry dough challenge...

I love the how this batch of dough turned out. We decided to make ours more into a savory little appetizers by adding mozzerella cheese, cartelized onions, green peppers and cherry tomatoe slices.

Very tasty, you can now find these yummy morsels on our catering menu. :)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Oatmeal Bread - From theTrapp Family Lodge

Yield: Makes 2 loaves

1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 3/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 1/2 cups hot water
two 1/4-ounce packages (5 teaspoons) active dry yeast
5 to 6 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten lightly, for brushing dough


In a large bowl combine butter, sugar, and 1 1/2 cups oats. Stir in hot water and let mixture stand until lukewarm. Sprinkle yeast over mixture and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Stir in 5 cups flour and salt, stirring until mixture forms a dough, and turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead dough 10 minutes, adding as much of remaining cup of flour as necessary to form a smooth and elastic dough, and let rest, covered with an inverted bowl, 15 minutes.

Lightly oil 2 loaf pans, 9 by 5 by 3 inches. Form dough into 2 loaves and transfer to pans. Brush surface of dough with egg and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup oats. Let dough rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Bake bread in middle of oven 35-45

Friday, October 17, 2014

"French Friday's with Dorie" - Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes with Garlic”

My guys don't really care much for Jerusalem Artichokes, we have tried them many different ways because I enjoy them. Also they are very hard to get in different parts of the country. I looked at Dorie's recipe and knew that I had to add a few more veggies to mine that my family would also eat, so here is my take on the recipe...

  • 1 small sweet potatoes
  • 2 large Jerusalem Artichokes
  • 2 peeled parsnips, sliced
  • 1/2 small cauliflower
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 6-8 small button mushrooms
  • 1/2 medium onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 garlic cloves 
  •  1/8 cup olive oil
  •  1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth



  • Peel and cube sweet potato and Jerusalem Artichokes. Add cauliflower, parsnips, mushrooms. Coated with olive oil and place in 13 x 9 inch baking dish. Sprinkle with parsley, salt and pepper. For moister vegetables you can add 1/4 cup of chicken broth. Pour broth over all. Top with onions and garlic. Cover and bake at 350° for 1 hour or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Uncover; bake 10-15 minutes longer or until vegetables reach desired tenderness. Yield: 8 servings.

Also if you would like more information about these yummy little tubers visit our Wordless Wednesday Challenge post entitled Jerusalem Artichokes

 Nutrition Facts: 1 serving (3/4 cup) equals 136 calories, Total Fat 7.3, Carbohydrate, 17.6, Sodium 31.4, Fiber 3.6g, Protein 1.9, Sugar 3.8.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Wordless Wednesday .... "Jerusalem Artichokes"

This week our "French Friday's with Dorie" will be cooking with a root vegetable that many us many not
know what it is called or be familiar with, so I thought it would make a great Wordless Wednesday Challenge. Please make your guess in the comments and the first one to response correctly gets a prize from the pantry.

What is it?........................ Jerusalem Artichoke or sometimes known as Sunchokes.

Where does it grow?......... native to eastern North America, and found from eastern Canada and Maine west to North Dakota, and south to northern Florida and Texas. Jerusalem artichokes were first cultivated by the Native Americans long before the arrival of the Europeans

How do you prepare it?... Even though there are a wide variety of ways to prepare them, the Jerusalem artichoke was titled 'best soup vegetable' in the 2002 Nice Festival for the Heritage of the French Cuisine.
What does it taste like?..... I find that they taste like a cross between a turnip and a water chestnut.

Have you ever tried it?......Yes, Many times... I love cooking with them when I can find them.

What recipe would you suggest using this mystery Ingredient?.....

Parmesan Crusted Jerusalem Artichoke


2 pound Jerusalem artichoke, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup olive oil
2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Salt to taste


On medium, Heat the oil and butter together in a frying pan just until the butter is melted, add the Jerusalem artichoke and fry, stirring occasionally until the Jerusalem artichoke starts to brown (like fried  potatoes), about 20 minutes.
Lower the heat and add the parmesan while stirring.  Cook for one minute, remove add salt, and serve.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

"Tuesday's with Dorie" - Sunny-Side Up Apricot Pastries

Today, it was all about the PUFF... the puff, the pastry puff, no Trouble! :)

        Our "Tueday's with Dorie" baking group challenges this month is all about the sweet and savory side of Puff Pastry Doughs. I have not made my own puff dough for a very long time and it was fun to give it another try. Our first challenge is to make Sunny-Side Up Apricot Pastries (we used peaches), my guys are not apricot fans.

One thing I learned a long time ago was that the butter you are working into the dough has to stay cold, so following the hints that both Julia and Dorie gives us are very important. Also, I feel like I get a better flake pattern when I let my dough warm up a little bit between cutting the shape and baking them.

You can check out other fans and fun recipes at  "Tuesday's with Dori".

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Making Naan Bread

For our Super Saturday, we decided to make Naan Bread to go with our
"Curried Chicken, Peppers & Peas en Papillote"

Perfect Naan Bread that tastes like it is from an Indian Restaurant is very simple and easy to make. This is a great recipe to add to your Food Storage list because you can use powdered milk in this recipe,  I just add the powdered milk to warm water and not have to worry about heating the milk.
  • 3 cups warm milk
  • 1 tsp yeast
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 8-9 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 stick soft butter
  •  garlic powder (optional)
  1. add yeast and sugar to warm milk, let stand 3-5 minutes
  2. add salt and 3½ cups flour to milk mixture and mix in mixer with dough hook for 3-5 minutes or about 8-10 minutes if mixing by hand, Sprinkle additional flour as needed to keep dough from sticking to the sides. Do not exceed 4¼ cups.
     3. Let rise for 2 hours or until it doubles in size

    4. Punch dough down and divide into 12 equal pieces and let rest for 30 minutes
    5. While you dough balls are resting put your stone(s) in oven and preheat oven to 500 degrees. Next roll out dough balls to desired thickness (about the size of a small tortilla)
    6.  Cook rolled out dough on stone for 2-4 minutes. Stack cooked Naan on top of each other and brush each side with butter.
    (If you desire you can add  garlic powder and a couple shakes of salt to your melted butter)

Friday, September 5, 2014

"French Fridays with Dorie" - Curried Chicken, Peppers & Peas en Papillote"

So excited for "French Friday's with Dorie" today... That means dinner will be ready on time or at least early, lol! The recipe featured today can be found in Dorie Greenspan's "Around My French Table" on page 221.
Our group seemed to have had fun with this one this morning and it tasted very yummy. In French the term "En Papillote" mean to cook "in parchment" or "in a pouch". So, its super easy with no hassle clean up, great for a back to school dinner, for when there is lots of homework or extra activities... :)

Another way we like to fix this yummy dish is to make it just like the recipe describes only placing it all together in a baking dish and then making a "Curry Cream Sauce" to pour over the top to bake it in.

  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh garlic
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder, or to taste
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
 Heat oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in flour as if you were making a rue for gravy. Add the chicken broth, wine, garlic, and curry powder. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Cover and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes longer. Stir in sour cream, mayo and heavy cream, add salt, to taste. Heat through. If sauce is kept chilled, it will be good for up to a week.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Five Dollar Dinner Challenge... #1

A friend introduced us to a new food challenge yesterday at Five Dollar Dinner Challenge. I was really impressed and since I have been creatively feeding my large family on a budget now for many years I felt right at home. So I decided to take her challenge and tonight WE give you...

(serves 4 people)
1 Large Can (26 oz) Cream of Tomato Soup ($1.57)
1 package Hot Dogs ($.88)
8 Slices of American Cheese ($.75)
1 Can Biscuits ($.45)
26 oz 2% Milk ($.60)


Make the pigs in the blanket by individually wrapping each hot dog with a slice of cheese and a flattened biscuit. Bake at 350* for 30 mins or until golden brown and not doughy inside.

Mix and heat soup as directed on the can. You can save even more here, by mixing the soup with water instead of milk. Our family just prefers a creamier soup...

Cost: $4.29 for entire meal

Note: For a fun and completely balanced meal you can serve with a side of Fruit Cocktail infused Jell-o for dessert at a total cost of $5.75.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Inspirational Divinity

Tonight, Kalee Harris & I had a wonderful time working with the Activity Day Girls in our ward. The theme of tonight's lesson was Self Esteem, Divine Nature and Individual Worth realizing that we are all Heavenly Father's children. We talked about several things that effect us both at home and at school. And then talked about being a "light unto the world" and all the things we could do to help to make the world a better place and how those things can strengthen our testimonies. For our treat tonight we made Homemade DIVINITY CANDY.... 


4 cups sugar
1 cup white corn syrup
3/4 cup cold water
3 egg whites
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
2 cups chopped pecans (optional)


In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stir together the sugar, corn syrup, and water. Stir only until sugar has dissolved. Do not stir after this point. Wipe inside of pan just above sugar mixture line with damp brush to help the sugar mixture from crystalizing. Cook syrup mixture until it reaches 250 degrees F on a candy thermometer, bringing it to a hard ball stage.

While the sugar mixture is cooking, separate eggs and beat whites into really stiff peaks. (You will not be using the egg yolks for this recipe) Once the sugar mixture reaches 250 degrees F, carefully pour a slow steady stream of syrup into the stiffly beaten egg whites, beating constantly at high speed. Add the vanilla and continue to beat until mixture holds its shape, approximately 5 minutes. Stir in pecans.

Using 2 spoons, drop the divinity onto waxed or parchment paper, using 1 spoon to push the candy off the other. The candy should be soft but still hold shape, it may look like the top of a soft serve ice cream. If the candy becomes too stiff, add a few drops of hot water. You will need to work fast when making this type of candy. Cool the candy completely before serving.

It was very warm and humid here at the beach today, so our candy looks very soft, but tasted great! 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Star Shaped Brioche Bread

Okay.... So I caved, there goes the diet. I had to try my hand at the star shaped brioche that everyone at my Artisan Bread Bakers group has been making this past couple of weeks. Traditionally it is filled with Nutella, but here at the pantry we are not fans of Nutella, so mine is filled with homemade chocolate cream cheese filling made with fresh cacao nibs that my friends gave us. Loved how easy and pretty my loaves turned out. 

The recipe and awesome photo instructions can be found at the following link: Star Shaped Brioche

"Tuesday's with Dorie" - Oven Roasted Plum Cakes

We were having friends over this evening and decide to hold these for tonight. These cakes turned out to be a lot better tasting than I thought they were going to be. I loved how easy they were to make and put together. We made ours in individual containers for easier service and better presentation. They made a wonderful quick and yummy dessert.

You can check out other fans and fun recipes at  "Tuesday's with Dori".

Monday, September 1, 2014

"Back to School" Blondies


  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup peanut butter chips


  • In a large bowl, combine the brown sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla until blended. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt;  mix until well incorporated. Stir in chocolate and peant butter chips.
  • Spread into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars. Yield: 3 dozen.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Llywelyn's Pub - St. Charles, MO

We love the handmade food with the homemade touches. We have eaten here several times and I always try something new or different from their menu, but my favorite is still their Bangers & Mash. Food is always served fresh at the correct tempatures. Never had a bad meal... Plus, It's fun to see the old bank vault and history of the building. It is always a great stop for a quick bite in our travels of the old Main Street and Katie Park.

Monday, August 25, 2014

"Back to School" Snack Mix

  Fall is in the air and today is the last big summer type holiday here at the beach. Having been a Teacher for many years and now finding myself with a lot of spare time on the computer I have discovered that I want to munch more, therefore I gain weight fast. So, I thought for today to kickoff our new Annie's Pantry format, we would start out with a fun, new, healthy, "Back to School" snack that is great for all ages. I love this snack both from a teacher and a snacker's point of view. It is very low-cal and totally nut free, its a great snack for the whole family and can be safely taken into the classroom.

Quick & Easy Snack Mix
 Makes:16 (1/2-cup) servings

4 cups air popped popcorn
1 cup raisin bran
2 cups TEDDY GRAHAMS Graham Snacks, any flavor
1 cup diced dried fruit mix (We like the tropical mix)     
MIX all ingredients in large bowl. 
                                                          Store in airtight container or ziplock bag. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

"Tuesday's with Dorie" - Baking Powder Biscuits

Yummy.... Yummy... Yummy! I think I like these better than I do just a plain Old Fashioned Buttermilk Biscuit... and they were even better smeared with fresh homemade butter and homemade mixed berry jam!

lots of people struggle with making great biscuits, so here are a few tips...

Getting ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Get out a sharp 2-inch-diameter biscuit cutter (I used a glass, and it was fine), and line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.

Whisk the flour(s), baking powder, sugar and salt together in a bowl. Pour about 1 cup of the cream over the dry ingredients, grab a fork and start tossing the ingredients together. If necessary, add more cream, a spoonful at a time, until you’ve got a nice soft dough. Now reach into the bowl with your hands and give the dough a quick, gentle kneading – 3 or 4 turns should be just enough to bring everything together.

Lightly dust a work surface with flour and turn out the dough. Dust the top of the dough very lightly with flour and pat the dough out with your hands or roll it with a pin until it is about 1/2 inch high. Don’t worry if the dough isn’t completely even – a quick, light touch is more important than accuracy.

Use the biscuit cutter to cut out as many biscuits as you can. Try to cut the biscuits close to one another so you get the most you can out of this first round. By hand or with a small spatula, transfer the biscuits to the baking sheet. Gather together the scraps, working them as little as possible, pat out to a 1/2-inch thickness and cut as many additional biscuits as you can; transfer these to the sheet. (The biscuits can be made to this point and frozen on the baking sheet, then wrapped airtight and kept for up to 2 months. Bake without defrosting – just add a couple more minutes to the oven time.)

Bake the biscuits for 14 to 18 minutes, or until they are tall, puffed and golden brown. Transfer them to a serving basket. Makes about 12 biscuits
You can check out other fans and fun recipes at  "Tuesday's with Dori".

Friday, August 15, 2014

"French Fridays with Dorie" - Roasted Peppers

Yum.... I never get tired of the wonderful aroma of a pan full of roasting sweet peppers. They make an excellent side dish to compliment any protein or just a simple afternoon snack. These tasty treats are easy to make and have a great shelf life if kept smothered in olive oil and chilled.

If you are interested in the recipe or joining our group, we are cooking from Dorie Greenspan's cookbook entitled "Around My French Table"

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos

Here is another yummy treat from Kalee's Wednesday Wish List... We made homemade "Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos" and we used the recipe found here: "Chef in Training"

Very simple and easy to make, they would be great to make ahead, freeze and have on hand. They would make a great, quick afterschool snack for kids of all ages. LOVED THEM!!!!!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Southwest Grits & Cheddar Bread

What happens when you have a whole lot of leftover jalapeno cheddar grits. Well, you make bread of course.... Here at the pantry we have come up with a great new bread and hamburger bun recipe that is sure to tingle anybodies southwest taste buds. So today for our Super Saturday Cooking session, we invite you all to give it a try. 

Difficulty: Easy
Servings: 2 large loaves
Prep Time: 15 minutes plus rising time    
Cook Time: 25 - 35  minutes  


1 1/2 cups warm water
2 teaspoon yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup cooked Jalapeno Cheddar grits
4 1/2 - 5 cups flour
1/4 cup diced green pepper
1/4 cup diced sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup diced yellow squash


In a large bowl, combine water, yeast, sugar, and salt. Let sit five minutes. Stir in COOKED grits (leftover grits work really well) and the first cup of flour with a heavy spoon. Add diced veggies and the rest of the flour a little at a time, stirring until dough becomes somewhat stiff and not sticky. Add a little more flour and begin kneading, (I kneaded my bread while still in my bowl, but you can place it on a floured surface if desired). Continue adding flour a little at a time and kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Let dough rise in a greased, covered bowl until doubled. (Usually, about an hour.) Uncover bowl; sprinkle in a little more flour and knead again. Because of the grits, this dough can stay very sticky, so don't be surprised if you use up to 7 of flour cups through out the whole recipe, so now with floured hands, cut and shape dough into 2 loaves and place on a greased pans. Cover and let rise until loaves have doubled. (About an hour, depending on the temperature in your kitchen.)
Bake for 25 -35 minutes in a preheated 350-degree oven