Ingredients:

6 cups Gold Medal Better for Bread flour
1 package of active yeast
2 1/4 cups milk
1 tablespoon of butter
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons olive oil

How I Made It:

Combine the flour and yeast in the mixing bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook.  Grease a second large bowl lightly with olive oil and set it aside.

In a heavy bottom saucepan, heat the milk over medium heat. Whisk in the sugar, salt, and butter.  Heat until the butter is just melted.

Combine the milk mixture with the flour in the mixer at low speed.  Increase the mixer speed to low-medium and let it mix the dough for 3-5 minutes or until all the flour is combined.

Shut off the mixer and remove the bowl.  With your (clean) hands, knead the dough a few times just to be sure it’s all combined. Transfer the dough to the greased bowl, turning it over a couple times in the bowl so it’s coated with the oil.  Cover the bowl with a clean towel and let sit somewhere warm to rise. (Over the running dishwasher is a good place.)

When the dough has doubled in size (2 hours or so), punch it down.  Form the dough into two loaves and place them into two non-stick loaf pans. Cover and let rise for 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Bake for 40 minutes (you might need to cover the loaves for the last 10 minutes or so, so the tops aren’t too brown).

How It Turned Out:

Two lovely fragrant loaves of fresh bread to share!

Bread 1

This is a simplified version of a Southern Living recipe, using turkey sausage instead of pork.  It turned out to be a wonderfully decadent dish, perfect for breakfast — or breakfast for dinner.

Ingredients:

1 pound mild turkey breakfast sausage
1 tbs olive oil
5 tbs butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup heavy cream + 2 cups 1% milk or 3 cups 2% milk
1 tsp black pepper
1 can of refrigerated biscuits (8)
1 cup shredded cheddar

How I Made It:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×9 casserole dish with cooking spray and set aside.

Cook the sausage in the olive oil over medium high heat, breaking it up as it cooks so you have small to medium size crumbles.  When the sausage is cooked through, remove it from the pan with a slotted spoon and set it aside on a plate lined with paper towels. Because you are using turkey sausage, there is very little grease. Don’t worry, it’s enough to flavor the gravy.

Melt the butter in the skillet. Add the flour and whisk continuously for two minutes, gently scraping the brown bits up and into the roux.  Whisk the milk into the roux and bring to a boil, whisking continuously.  Cook for 3 minutes, then stir in the pepper and sausage crumbles. Remove the sausage and gravy from the heat.

Cut the uncooked biscuits in half. Place eight biscuit halves in the bottom of the casserole dish.  Cover with half the sausage gravy. Add the cheese in an even layer, then top with the rest of the sausage and gravy.  Top the casserole with the remaining biscuit halves.

Place the casserole dish on a baking sheet (it will bubble over) and then bake it in the center of the oven for 40 minutes.  You might cover it after 20 minutes so that your biscuits don’t get to hard and brown.

Serve immediately.

How It Turned Out:

Delicious!!

Biscuits & Gravy

I made these banana-riffic cupcakes for my nephew’s fifth birthday. They were almost as a big a hit as the remote control motorcycle.

Cupcake 1

Banana Cupcakes

I am a lazy blogger on a sunny Sunday afternoon, so I’ll just provide the links to the splendid banana cupcake recipe from Martha Stewart and the perfect buttercream recipe from Alice at Savory Sweet Life that made these sweetnesses possible. Thanks ladies!

It’s easy to fall into a chocolate rut when it comes to cupcakes. What’s better than chocolate, anyway? Well, these light and sweet cupcakes made with fresh apples give those rich chocolate versions a run for the money.

This recipe makes 2 dozen plus cupcakes, so make sure you have lots of people to share with.

Ingredients:

4-6 organic Fuji or Gala apples, peeled and chopped (3 cups)
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar
3 sticks of unsalted butter
2 cups of sugar
4 eggs
1 tbs vanilla
2 1/2 cups all purpose unbleached flour
6 ounces Greek Gods Honey, Vanilla, Cinnamon and Orange yogurt
Cream Cheese Frosting

How I Made Them:

Start with the apples, so they macerate and create a cinnamon sugar syrup before you add them to the batter.  In a large bowl, combine the chopped apple (smaller pieces of apple are better) with the cinnamon and sugar.  Stir to combine the ingredients well and then set them aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 cupcake tins (24 cupcakes) with sturdy paper liners. These cupcakes are moist, so use a substantial liner.

In a standing mixer, cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed. Scrape the sides at least once to be sure there are no lumps. When the butter mixture is light and fluffy, add the eggs one at a time. Scrape the sides again, and then mix in the vanilla.  Add the flour in three batches, alternating with the yogurt.  The result will be a very thick batter.

Remove the mixing bowl from the stand mixer.  Use a rubber spatula to fold 3 cups of the cinnamon apples into the batter.  (Save any left over apples for the next time you make pancakes or need an ice cream topper.)

Spoon 1/4 cup of batter into each cupcake tin.  The batter is very thick, but don’t worry if it just sits in the cup rather than filling it.  In the oven, the batter will spread as it bakes and fill the cup.

Bake for 23 minutes or until the cake tester comes away clean but for a few crumbs.  Let cool completely before frosting.

How They Turned Out:

Moist, tender, appley, and not too sweet.  Perfect for tea parties, breakfast, or a snack.  I made these for a St. Patrick’s Day party (the decorations are from Fancy Flours).

Apple Cinnamon Cupcakes

How else to celebrate Fat Tuesday — aka Mardi Gras — than with decadent chocolate cupcakes topped with rich cream cheese frosting?

Ingredients:

Cupcakes

2 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 cup Ghirardelli cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups whole milk

Frosting

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
5 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2-3 cups powdered sugar

How I Made Them:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare a cupcake tin with festive paper wrappers.

Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cocoa together in a large bowl, then set aside.

In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla, until thoroughly combined.  Scrape the sides of the bowl before adding the flour mixture.  Add the dry ingredients in three batches, alternating with the milk until the batter is smooth and thoroughly combined.

Fill the cupcake tins 3/4 full.  Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a cake tester comes away clean but for a few crumbs.  Let the cupcakes cool thoroughly before frosting.

To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla together.  Add the powdered sugar in batches until you achieve the consistency you want.  Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes and decorate as desired. Makes 2 dozen cupcakes.

How They Turned Out:

These treats are sure to earn you the best beads at the parade.

MG Cupcakes 2

The fancification is from Fancy Flours (love! their goodies).

One of the best things about snowy sleepy mornings is making something good for breakfast.

Ingredients:

6 eggs
1/2 cup half and half
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
2 cups chopped fresh broccoli florets
3/4 cup grated parmesan

How I Made Them:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare four ramekins by wiping them with olive oil.

Whisk the eggs and half and half together in a large bowl.  Once combined, whisk in the red pepper.  Add the broccoli and parmesan, combining all together with a spoon (the broccoli gets caught in the whisk).

Pour the egg and broccoli mixture evenly into the four ramekins.  They will puff up like a soufflé, so don’t overfill the ramekins.

Bake in the center of the oven on a cookie sheet for 35 minutes or until cooked through.

How They Turned Out:

Perfect!

Individual Broccoli Quiche

My friend Elizabeth introduced me to African groundnut stew, a wonderfully spicy comfort dish. This version is as easy to make as it is tasty.

Ingredients:

2 chicken breasts, skinless and boneless
5 chicken thighs, skinless and boneless
2 tbs olive oil
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 lbs of small red potatoes with skins, quartered
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes (no salt if you can find them)
2 cups of  chicken broth
2 tbs tomato paste
2 tsp minced ginger
2 tsp curry powder
2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 lb baby carrots

How I Made It:

In a nonstick skillet over medium high heat, sear the chicken breasts and thighs in the olive oil.  Don’t cook it all the way through, just get a nice browning on each side of the pieces of chicken.

Put the chicken in the bottom of the crock pot.  Top with the chopped onion and potatoes.  Add the diced tomatoes, then pour 1 and 1/2 cups of the chicken broth over the top.  In the remaining half cup of chicken broth, mix the tomato paste, curry, and ginger.  Pour the broth mixture over the top of the chicken in the crock pot.  Spoon the peanut butter in dollops over the top, then sprinkle with the red pepper.

Cover and cook on high in the crock pot for 4 hours.  Add the baby carrots, stirring the stew with a spoon to ensure that everything is mixed and the chicken starts to break up.  Cook on high for another hour or so.

How It Turned Out:

Holy kamoley — it’s good!  Just spicy enough, the flavors distinct yet complementing each other perfectly. Makes exactly 8 servings, and pairs well with warm naan or flat bread.

African Chicken Stew

 

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