Monday, November 2, 2015

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

There is nothing worse than a hard cookie.  Soft is a must at our house, and these ones fit the bill.
Just remember the other key element; do not over bake!
Also, these can be made by hand, without a mixer or beaters, another added bonus.

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. butter, melted
3/4 c. brown sugar, loosely packed
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 large egg + 1 egg yolk (or 1 1/2 powdered eggs)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. chocolate chips or chunks

Combine flour, baking soda, cornstarch and salt in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the melted butter and sugars, until no lumps remain.
Whisk the egg and egg yolk into butter mixture, and then add the vanilla.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix together with a large spoon or rubber spatula.
The dough should be very soft, but thick.
Fold in the chocolate chips.
Cover dough and chill for 2 hours, or up to 3 days (this is mandatory).

Once chilled, remove from fridge and allow to soften for 10 minutes.
Using 3 Tbsp. of dough per cookie, roll into balls, making them as tall as possible, rather than wide or round.
Place on greased cookie sheets.
Bake at 325 degrees for 11-12 minutes.
They should look soft and under-baked, but will continue to cook while on the sheet.
Leave cookies on sheet for 10 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Glace Icing

This glace icing is a fun alternative to your everyday sugar cookie topping, or if you're just looking for something different.  A little more work in my opinion, but I love the smooth finish it gives, and it is the best way to stack and store these for taking them to a party or gift giving.

Glace Icing
Recipe from Our Best Bites

1 lb. powdered sugar (about 3 3/4 c.)
1/3 c. milk
1/3 c. honey
1 tsp. almond extract (or flavor of choice)

Whisk sugar and milk until completely smooth and lump free.
Stir in honey and extract.
Separate into bowls to add coloring, optional.

Cookies can be "flooded" by dumping icing in the middle and spreading it around to the edges.
Thicken the icing by adding additional powdered sugar, and pipe with a frosting bag.
Let icing harden completely (preferably overnight), before stacking.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Pickled Beets

Pickled beets are a great way to preserve the garden all year long!  They make a great addition to relish trays and salads, or as a side dish to sandwiches.  I prefer making this with honey rather than sugar, but I will include measurements for both so you have options.  The amount of sweetener is based upon taste, I prefer using less, but feel free to up the amount to your liking.
These particular beets were chioggia and albino, which gave them a pretty pink color, but this recipe will work for any type of beet.
Pickled Beets
Recipes modified from Sandy Bishop and The Prairie Homestead

10 lbs. beets
1 large cinnamon stick
12 whole cloves
6 c. apple cider vinegar
3 c. water or beet juice
1 c. honey (or swap for 1 - 4 1/2 c. sugar, depending on taste)

Cut tops off of the beats, leaving about 1" of stem attached.
Wash thoroughly and place beets in a large pot.
Cover beets with water and boil until tender, but not soft, about 30 - 1 hour depending on size.

When cooked, rinse beets in cold water; skins should slip off easily.
Remove root and top of beet stem.
Chop beets into bite size chucks (or diced!)

Combine apple cider vinegar and water into a pot.
Place the cinnamon stick and cloves in a cheesecloth bag and add to the pot.
Boil mixure for 3-5 minutes.
Stir in honey or sugar, and stir to dissolve.  
Taste and adjust sweetener to your liking.
Remove cheesecloth bag.

Pack beets into hot sterilized pint or quart jars, accounting for 1/2" headspace.
Pour hot vinegar mixture over beets until just covered.
Remove air bubbles by running a knife along 4 sides of the bottle.
Wipe rims clean, and top with lids and bands.

Process in a hot water bath canner for 30 minutes, be sure to adjust for altitude, (40 minutes Utah time).

Monday, October 12, 2015

{Zupa's} Chicken Enchilada Chili

Zupas Chicken Enchilada Chili.  You need this recipe in your life.  This was definitely not my first (or second, or third...) attempt at recreating this, so I can tell you right now, the secret is all in the sauce.  Save yourself the heartache of 'not as good as Zupas' soup and make the enchilada sauce from scratch.  It makes all the difference.  It makes the soup.
I use this enchilada sauce recipe from Our Best Bites, only subbing red bell peppers instead of green ones.  I also like to make a big batch of it ahead of time because it freezes beautifully, which means I can have this soup ready and on the table in a matter of minutes.

Zupas Chicken Enchilada Chili
Recipe modified from Burnt Apple

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
2 c. small diced cooked chicken
2 1/2 c. enchilada sauce
1 15oz. can tomato sauce
1 4oz. can diced green chiles
1 15oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
2 Tbsp. flour
2 Tbsp. butter
1 15oz. can evaporated milk
2 c. chicken broth

In a large pan, heat olive oil and add onions, cooking until translucent.
Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Add the chicken, enchilada sauce, tomato sauce, green chiles, beans, chili powder, and cumin.
Allow mixture to warm, stirring occasionally, while you make the sauce.
In a separate pan, melt the butter.
Add in flour, and whisk to make a roux.
Gradually add evaporated milk, whisking and cooking until sauce is thickened.
Slowly add milk mixture and grated cheddar cheese into the soup, stirring until melted.
Add up to 2 c. chicken broth to thin soup to desired consistency.
Serve with tortilla chips.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Apple Butter

We like ours best swirled into oatmeal, but you could spread this over toast, slather it on a pork chop, eat it straight from the jar, etc.
This recipe is basically making applesauce, and then taking it a step further; thickening it and adding some spices.  I make both simultaneously.  I like to make the apple butter in my 7 quart crock pot; it makes my house smell like fall and doesn't require a lot of work from me.  You can do the same thing over the stove top in a shorter amount of time if you are in a rush.  You basically just need to simmer it down to your desired consistency.
This recipe includes instructions for canning, but by all means skip this step if this frightens you.  You can store this in the fridge for a couple of weeks, and freeze the extras.

Apple Butter
Recipe from Everyday Food Storage

28 c. sweetened applesauce (enough to fill a 7 quart crock pot)
Pour applesauce into slow cooker.
Use a cooling rack in-between the crockpot and the lid, to make evaporation of liquid possible.
Cook on low, stirring occasionally, until desired consistency is reached (8-24 hours).
**I like mine to reduce by half, which takes me the full 24 hours.  You can cook it on high for a shorter period of time, but if you are leaving this out overnight, use the low setting.

When desired consistency is reached, add the following ingredients
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. allspice

At this point the apple butter is done.  Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks and/or freeze.  If canning:
Spoon apple butter into sterilized pint jars.
Wipe rims and add lids and bands.
Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes, be sure to adjust for altitude, (20 minutes Utah time).

Monday, September 28, 2015

Tomato Basil Sauce with Roasted Garlic {Bottled}

Tomatoes are abundant here right now, and there is no better way to preserve the garden goodness all through the winter months than by making this sauce.
Toss it over noodles.
Spread it over pizza crust.
Add it to some tomato soup (or any recipe calling for tomato) for a touch of homemade flair.
It is thick and hearty and garlicy and delicious.
I often make this in a HUGE batch (I'll at least double the recipe if I have the tomatoes); I feel it makes my time more worth while.  You can easily half (or more) the recipe, but stick to measurements pretty closely here, as straying can alter the acid levels which is no bueno for canning.
If you aren't into the whole canning scene, this sauce also freezes beautifully.

Tomato Basil Sauce with Roasted Garlic
Recipe modified from Our Best Bites

24 lbs. ripe tomatoes
1/3 c. packed brown sugar
1/4 c. kosher salt
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. ground black pepper
4 c. lightly packed fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 Tbsp. oregano
1 Tsbp. thyme
1 Tsbp. parsley
1/3 c. pureed roasted garlic (about 4 heads)
2/3 c. lemon juice (for canning only)

Blanch tomatoes and remove all skins and stems.
Rough chop tomatoes and add to large stainless steel pot.
Add brown sugar, salt, vinegar and pepper and stir to incorporate.
Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a steady simmer, but still bubbling all over.
Continue simmering, uncovered, until mixture is reduced to desired consistency (at least 2 hours).
Stir occasionally while sauce is simmering.
If you like your sauce with some chunks, leave as is.  If you like it smooth, you can pulse with an immersion blender.
Once desired consistency is met, stir in basil, oregano, thyme, parsley and garlic.
Adjust seasoning to taste.

If canning:
Add 1 Tbsp. of lemon juice into each hot, sterilized pint jar (12), or 2 Tbsp. for quart jars (6).
Ladle sauce into jars, accounting for headspace.
Remove air bubbles by running a knife along the outside of the jar, 4-5 times around.
Wipe rims and top with hot lids.
Screw on bands.
Process in a hot water bath canner for 35 minutes, adjusting for altitude if necessary (45 minutes Utah time).
Makes 12 pints or 6 quarts.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Oven Baked Corn on the Cob

Another go to recipe for wonderfully easy corn on the cob.  Very similar to using the microwave, this corn comes out perfectly cooked, juicy and, if handled properly, completely silk free.  Just throw the entire thing in the oven, husk and all!  Be sure to check out the link above to view how to remove the husk once cooked.

Oven Baked Corn on the Cob
Bake unhusked corn in oven at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.
When done, cut through the corn completely at the base end (be sure to cut through corn, not just the stem).
Once cut, grab the husk and silk at the top, and gently pull up to remove it.
All of the silk will come off with the husk, and you will be left with perfectly cooked and ready to eat corn!