Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Bacon Waffles


Bacon Waffles
(5 waffles)

 
Ingredients:

2 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp. Salt
4 tsp. Baking Powder
2 tbsp. Sugar
2 large Fresh Eggs
1½ cups Warm Milk
1/3 cup Bacon Grease (see note)
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 lb. Cooked Bacon, chopped (see note)

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder and sugar.  In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, bacon grease and vanilla.  Pour the egg mixture into the dry mixture and combine.  Don’t over mix.  Using a Belgium Waffle Maker, per-heat according to product directions.  Spray waffle plates with can spray and fill with a heavy half cup of batter.  Continue according the product directions for cooking.  Remove and repeat until you have used all of the batter.  Heat oven to 200 degrees and use to hold waffles as you continue cooking them.

Note:               Use the bacon grease you get from cooking the bacon needed for this recipe.  If you come up a little short on amount, use melted butter to get full measurement needed.

Note:               To cook bacon, place slices on a sheet pan/rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper between pan and bacon.  Place in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes or until you get desired doneness.  Remove bacon from pan to a paper towel covered plate or platter.  Pour off bacon grease to use in waffle recipe.  The parchment paper helps on clean-up of pan but does absorb some of the grease.  You could put bacon on a rack in the pan and then get more bacon grease out of the process.

Ideas for Future Efforts
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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Breakfast Treats for the Holidays

The holidays are as much about food as they are gifts to give and receive.  I've always been a fan of "Breakfast" and/or "Brunch" foods served anytime of the day.  The evening meal is probably the best time because you're not in as much of a hurry as you are in the morning.  This has been mentioned by me several times before in my cookbook and on this food blog.

I'm mentioning it again because at this time of the year many of us go home to family or have family come home to us.  It's that end of December holidays and New Year celebrating that brings us all together.

Well, having a crowd around that you may not see often enough makes you want to do or offer something special.  Which brings us back to food.  Where better to catch-up and converse but at the dining table.  So let's make a few dishes that are not your everyday foods.  Or maybe just jacked-up a little more than usual.

If you have a waffle maker, I have a tasty treat for you to try on the guests.  Since just about everyone loves bacon, I have "Bacon Waffles" that will be fondly remember in future get-togethers.  This recipe will be on Wednesday's post.

Another breakfast dish everyone likes is French Toast.  Thursday's post will take it up a notch with "Stuffed French Toast (Peaches & Cream)" recipe.  You can use frozen peaches if fresh ones are not is season.  Either way it will be a big hit for you.

Both of these recipes are great with just syrup.  But if you are going to make such fabulous food, please make sure you use "Real" 100% Maple Syrup.  Don't use the cheap stuff.  Also, take the time to heat the syrup a little.  Warm syrup on waffles or French toast is hard to beat.

If you are one that makes jellies or jams (or receives them this time of year), you might want to put some out on the table.  Any flavor of a homemade jelly or jam will go well with both dishes.

Be sure to check the "Recipe Tabs" above to find other terrific breakfast/brunch recipes to serve family and friends this holiday season.  "Happy Cooking" until next week and "Best Wishes" to everyone for this holiday season.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Royal Icing


Royal Icing
(2 cups)

 
Ingredients:

2 cups Powdered Sugar
1½ tbsp. Meringue Powder
¼ tsp. Cream of Tarter
¼ cup Warm Water
½ tsp. Vanilla
as needed Food Coloring (see note)

Directions:

In a large mixing bowl stir together sugar, meringue powder and cream of tartar.  Add the warm water and vanilla.  Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until combined.  More to high speed and continue for 7 to 10 minutes or until icing is very stiff.  Use immediately or cover with damp paper towel and then tightly cover with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate up to 2 days but stir before using.

Note:               It's up to you to pick colors you desire 
                        to use when frosting the cut-out cookies.
                        My suggestion is to divide the frosting 
                        into bowls equaling the number of colors
                        you plan to use decorating the cookies.
                        Do this just before turning up the mixer
                        speed to high.  Remember to cover
                        frosting you have finished with a wet
                        paper towel until you are ready to use. 
                        I like using 3 colors when doing
                        Christmas cookies, red, green and leaving
                        one white.

Note:               This makes a very hard icing for cookies.  If you want to make it more of a glaze, add additional water about a ½ tsp. at a time.  Do this until you reach a thick spoonable consistency.

Ideas for Future Efforts
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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Sugar Cookie for Cut-outs


Sugar Cookie for Cut-outs
(3-4 dozen – depends on thickness & cut-outs used)

 
Ingredients:

1 cup Unsalted Butter, very soft
¾ cup Sugar
1 large Fresh Egg
½ tsp. Vanilla
2½ cups All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp. Baking Soda
¼ tsp. Salt

Directions:

In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar.  Now add the egg and vanilla and continue to cream together.  In a separate bowl combine flour, soda and salt and whisk together.  To the butter mixture, add the flour a fourth at a time using an electric mixer on low to medium-low until flour is combined.  Increase speed to high and mix until well incorporated.  Flour a counter top and place cookie dough on it.  Form into a ball and press down to flatten to about a half inch thickness.  Use a floured rolling pin to roll out to a thickness of a quarter inch to three-eight inch.  Depends on your desired thickness of the cookie.  Use your favorite cut-out forms on the dough and place pieces on a parchment paper lined cookie tray.  Put in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for 9 to 11 minutes depending on your oven.  Remove to a wire rack of wax paper on the counter to cool.  When cool, decorate with desired frosting and other holiday decorative items.

Note:               There is a recipe for Royal Icing on my food blog to use for these cookies.  It makes a hard shell frosting that dries fast.  If you want to add sprinkles and other toppings, I recommend using another type of icing.  One that combines powdered sugar, vanilla and milk would work great for use with sprinkles and other toppings.

Ideas for Future Efforts
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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Oreo Balls


Oreo Balls
(approx. 30)

 

Ingredients:
 
1 (14.3 oz.) package Regular Oreo Cookies
1 (8 oz.) package Cream Cheese, room temperature
1 (oz.) package White Bark, melted

Directions:

Crush package of Oreo cookies and place in a large mixing bowl.  Mix in the cream cheese and chill for one to two hours (or overnight).  Now form into balls using a #50 scoop.  Once removed from scoop, press tightly with hands into balls with a flat bottom.  Drop balls one at a time into the melted white bark using two forks.  Make sure to coat completely and then remove.  Do this by placing a fork under the flat side of ball and lifting out of the melted bark.  Carefully bang the fork handle against rim of pan to remove excess bark.  Carefully place each ball on wax paper to cool in refrigerator.  Once cooled, place cooled balls in appropriate containers and store in refrigerator.  They can be frozen until needed too.

Note:               To melt the bark, use one of two methods.  Use a double-boiler with water in bottom section and bark in top section.  Bring water to a boil and have lid on top section.  Check about every 5 minutes and try stirring.  Bark will keep shape until you stir.  Once it is completely smooth, start dipping balls into the bark.  You can also use the microwave.  Place pieces in a microwavable dish and run on high in 15 second segments.  Start trying to stir after the 3rd time.  Again, stir until smooth and start dipping.

Note:               You could use chocolate bark or both to give you a different look.  Also try adding a little food color of choice to the white bark for a variety of colors.

Ideas for Future Efforts
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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

More Holiday Treats


Everyone loves tasting a variety of holiday sweet treats.  Family members, friends and co-workers all like to share what they have made for the season too.  Seems everyone has their own specialty to make and share.  The amazing thing about it is all the different types of treats and rarely a bad one.

Now anyone has their favorite types of holiday treats.  Some go for the cookies and some the seasonal candies.  And within each category you have your number one picks.  In cookies, my children use to beg for Chocolate Krinkles (V)  when they were young.  Now it has to be My Favorite Thumb Print Cookie (V) cookies as they have aged.  As you can see both are recipes already in my food blog.

For those looking to try something new or different, I have over another half dozen recipes of cookies, bars or candy under the "Desserts & Baking Recipes" tab on the blog.  So give them a try or maybe go for one of this week's recipes.

For this season I have 3 recipes to offer.  On Wednesday I have a simple recipe for "Oreo Balls" which are addictive.  It's probably the same or similar recipe you can find everywhere.  But think about making them your own by using an Oreo cookie that is different from the original one.  They have so many flavors of Oreos out now.  I'll be honest, it does take a little practice getting a beautiful finished product.  The dipping and getting excess coating off is trial and error.  The upside is someone still gets to eat the rejects.  The taste is there even if they don't look the best.

Thursday has my favorite recipe for cut-out cookies, "Sugar Cookie for Cut-outs."  It's an easy dough to make and if you don't want to make cut-outs, it works to just scoop and place on the cookie sheet too.  It's the flavor that makes them my favorite sugar cookie.

Of course you can't have a cut-out cookie and not have a frosting.  So on Friday there is a recipe for "Royal Icing" and it makes a hard shell icing.  This one doesn't work well if you want to add sprinkles and other things on top of the frosting.  But it makes for an excellent topping to a sugar cookie.

The season is closing in fast, so you better get started making a few holiday treats for you and others.  "Happy Cooking" until next week and please share my blog site with family and friends.



Thursday, December 4, 2014

Loaded Nachos


Loaded Nachos
(8 servings)

 
Ingredients:

1 bag Tortilla Chips (your favorite)
1 (16 oz.) can Refried Beans
1 lb. Ground Beef, cooked & drained
½ lb. Chorizo Sausage, cooked & drained
1 cup Diced Chicken, cooked
1 (8 oz.) can Tomato Sauce
3 tbsp. Taco Sauce
1 cup Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded
1 cup cheddar Cheese, shredded
1 (4 oz.) can Sliced Ripe Olives
4 Green Onions, sliced
1 (7 oz.) jar Sliced Pickled Jalapeno Peppers (optional)
½ cup Guacamole
½ cup Sour Cream
½ cup Salsa

Directions:

Take a rimmed baking sheet and spread the tortilla chips from rim to rim.  Now, in a large bowl, combine the beans, beef, sausage, chicken, tomato sauce and taco sauce.  Layer this mixture over all the chips.  Top next with the two cheeses.  Follow this with the olives and green onions.  Place the baking sheet into a pre-heated 350 degree oven and heat until cheese has melted and bubbly.  Remove from oven and top with the jalapenos, guacamole, sour cream and salsa.  Serve immediately using small plates for everyone.

Note:               This is just one version of a loaded nacho plate.  Substitute any of your favorite ingredients that you like on your nachos.  Have fun.

Ideas for Future Efforts
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