Sunday, November 7, 2010

A few Thanksgiving recipes

This past Saturday, I had the opportunity to share a few recipes with the ladies at Immanuel. It was such an honor for me to be asked to do this and I had an awesome time. I thought I would pass along some of those recipes to you! Today, I'll start with one of my favorites that makes every holiday meal special. I will have more to share as the holiday season rolls on. I'm gonna be busy this week decorating for Christmas, and I can't wait! I'm so excited about it!! (And no, I'm not crazy ;)
I love baking and trying new things for the holidays so I'll be sure to pass along the good ones!

Cornbread Dressing and Gravy

1 recipe of cornbread (store bought or your favorite recipe) crumbled
6-7 slices of bread, toasted and torn into piece/ or about 5-6 leftover biscuits
1 sleeve of saltiness crackers, crushed
1 1/2 cups chopped celery
1 large onion, diced
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of celery coup
5 eggs, beaten
2 large cartons of low sodium chicken broth (For the dressing I use store bought broth and use the homemade broth for the gravy-recipe following)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp sage
1 tsp thyme

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Crumble your cornbread, toast, and saltiness in a large bowl and mix well. Sauté onions and celery in 1/2 stick of butter over medium heat until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add to corn bread mixture. Add your soups, salt, pepper, sage, thyme, and about 1 1/2 cartons of broth and mix well. Taste at this point to see if it needs more salt, pepper, or herbs. Then add your beaten eggs, shredded chicken (2 of the chicken breasts used to make the stock in the recipe following) and more broth if needed. Pour into a large, greased baking dish and bake, covered for about 1 1/2 hours. I like to stir the dressing after the first 45 minutes (to pull the crispy edges into the dressing) and continue to do this about every 15-20 minutes until it's done. Leave the foil off for the last 15-20 minutes.

Chicken Stock:
4 chicken breasts
2 bay leaves
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

For the stock, place chicken breasts, place all ingredients in a stock pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the chicken is tender, about 40-45 minutes. Remove bay leaves and discard. Shred chicken breasts, adding 2 to the dressing and the other 2 back to the broth.

4 boiled eggs
2 chicken bouillon cubes
Chicken broth (strained)
2 shredded chicken breasts
Salt and Pepper to taste

For the gravy, bring the broth back to a boil and add the bouillon cubes; stir to dissolve. Then add the chopped, boiled eggs. Put about 1 tablespoon of cornstarch in a bowl and add about 2-3 tablespoons of cold water; stir to combine. Stir cornstarch mixture into the boiling broth and cook about 5 minutes over medium high heat. If your gravy isn't as thick as you like after 5 minutes, repeat the step with the cornstarch. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Trying new things

Well, I've always wanted to try my hand at fondant and I finally did it! I'd gotten myself all worked up about it (just nervous) but I figured if I didn't just jump in and do it I never would. It was so much fun! Here's my first batch of fondant. I was so proud of it I just had to take a picture :)

This is the finished product. It's not perfect, but not too bad for my first attempt. It's for a friend of mine's daughter for her 16th birthday. I hope she likes it!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Get a Little Taste of WestCoast Peaches

I am currently doing some gourmet baking to help raise money to send my kids to church summer camp. These are not your typical tasty little cupcakes. These are homemade, gourmet treats from the kitchen of WestCoast Peaches. A friend of mine generously asked me to make the goodies for her daughter's luau party. Pictured here are the cookies and cupcakes I made. The cupcakes are homemade chocolate cake with a super-yummy-original-secret-chocolate frosting recipe (I wanted to just eat it right out of the bowl!) and red velvet cake with a vanilla buttercream frosting sprinkled with "pe-cans" of course :-)

If you know of someone, or you yourself are in need of some yummy goodies for birthdays, graduations, special events, Fathers' Day Family Dinner, or that little sweet tooth of yours, I'm ready for baking-to-order.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The most AWESOME Cinnamon Rolls!

I've been experimenting with cinnamon roll recipes, trying to find a really good one and I think I've found a winner. These are really not difficult to make and are absolutely amazing! I hope you'll give these a try because you'll be so happy with them. You could take these to any get-together with friends and you'll be a hit for sure.

Cinnamon Rolls:
1 (1/4 oz) pkg dry yeast
1 cup warm milk (just heat in microwave for about 1-1/2 minutes)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup butter
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
4 cups all purpose flour

1 cup packed brown sugar
2 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, room temp
2 Tbsp flour

Dissolve yeast in warm milk in large bowl or mixer bowl.
Add sugar, butter, salt, eggs, and flour and mix well.
Knead the dough into a large ball using hands lightly dusted with flour. (I use the dough hook of my mixer and it only takes about a minute or two)
Put in a bowl, cover with a towel, and let rise for about 1 hour or until dough is double in size. (I heat my oven to about 100 degrees, turn it off, then place the covered bowl in and it helps the rising process)
Roll out dough until approximately 21 inches long and 16 inches wide. (About the size of a big cutting board) It should be about 1/4 inch thick.
Mix the filling ingredients together minus the butter. Spread the butter over the dough, then sprinkle evenly with filling mix. Press down lightly.
Roll the dough up starting with the long side. Cut into 12 pieces. (I cut the uneven ends off, then mark the center. You should then mark for six rolls on each side and then cut the rolls. If you mark it off first, you'll always end up with uniform rolls.)
Place in greased 9x13 dish, cover, and put back in oven and let rise until double in size again.
Take dish out of oven, and preheat to 400 degrees. Bake rolls for about 10-15 minutes until golden brown.
Cool slightly and then spread with icing. (recipe to follow)

*TIP: You can make these ahead of time, wrap in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature, slice and place in baking dish and let rise until double in size. Follow directions as above.

Cinnamon Roll Icing:
2 sticks of unsalted butter, room temp
8 oz block of cream cheese, room temp
1 lb powdered sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla

Beat cream cheese and butter with mixer until combined. Slowly add all the powdered sugar and beat until well combined. Beat the mixture for 12 minutes. (I know it sounds like a long time, but it really does make a huge difference) Scrape down periodically to make sure it's all mixed well. When almost done, add in juice and vanilla.
*I think this is even better if you make the icing earlier and refrigerate for a while before using.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Trying something new!

Well, I'm gonna be trying something new soon and I'll let you know how it goes. I love to watch the cake challenges on Food Network and I feel inspired to try one myself. I'm going to make a basic 2-tiered round cake and make marshmallow fondant (for the first time ever) and decorate it! I'll never figure out how if I never try right? We'll see how it goes! I'll post a pic either way. I may discover cake decorating isn't my thing and should stick with cupcakes. Fingers crossed.....

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Fresh Strawberry Pie

I was in the grocery store the other day passing by the strawberries and I could almost taste a homemade strawberry pie, just like we would eat during the summer when I was a kid. When I got married I went back to cheating completely on this pie; buying the glaze in the grocery store. It really is so easy to make your own and tastes SO much better. In this particular video I did use a pre-made roll out crust. Of course, homemade crust is delicious also, but I think the bought crusts are really close and work if you're in a hurry.

1 pie crust, baked and cooled
8 cups of fresh strawberries, quartered
2/3 cup water
2/3 cup sugar
3 Tbsp cornstarch

In a blender, blend 1 cup of strawberries with 2/3 cup water. Pour into a small saucepan and add sugar and cornstarch. Mix well. Cook over medium heat just until boiling, then continue to simmer for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let sit without stirring for 10 minutes. Let the glaze cool. Put a little glaze in the bottom of the baked, cooled pie crust. Place a layer of strawberries in next. Add more glaze over this layer. Add more strawberries and another layer of glaze. Finish with your prettiest cuts of strawberries and finish off with the rest of the glaze, making sure you coat all of the strawberries. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, but even longer is better if you have time. I finish my pie off with homemade whipped cream. Tip: If you are not going to be eating the entire pie, I would put whipped cream on each individual piece as it's served. The whipped cream can separate and get runny otherwise if it's stored on the pie.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Margherita Pizza

This is a quick, easy pizza that's also really pretty and great for entertaining. Oh yeah, it tastes really good too! :)

1 pizza dough (the kind you find at the grocery store near the canned biscuits works or you can make your own)
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, sliced
fresh mozzarella cheese
fresh basil, sliced
2 garlic cloves, sliced thin
3 tbsp pizza sauce
olive oil
salt and pepper

Place pizza dough on stone and drizzle with olive oil. Bake at 400 degrees for about 5 minutes. Spread pizza sauce very sparingly over pizza. (This step is not necessary if you don't have any) Sprinkle garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, and mozzarella evenly over pizza dough. You can use small mozzarella pearls like I used or you can use slices, whatever you like and the look you're going for. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Bake for around 10 minutes at 400 degrees. When the pizza comes out of the oven, add basil, sliced or left whole and drizzle with olive oil. Enjoy!!