Monday, March 26, 2012

Oatmeal Chocolate Toffee Chip Bars

So I have a recipe for bars similar to these called Chocolate Toffee Chip bars but one day I felt like changing them up. That is what I love about cooking is that you don't need to always follow a recipe to a "T" you can make it your own but adding things that you family likes or you like. Anway, I had some of the cinnamon chips laying around that I had gotten on clearance at Walmart for a dollar a bag and decided I needed to use them so these babies were born. They are very yummy and if you don't have cinnamon chips just use whichever kind you would like. Be creative!!

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Toffee Chip Bars
1 1/4 cup flour
1 1/4 cup oats (any kind you have will do)
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter
1 egg
1 pkg milk chocolate chips(or semi sweet)
1 pkg cinnamon chips
1(14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 pkg toffe bits

Stir together the flour and sugar. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the egg and mix really well. Stir in half the package of the milk chocolate chips and 1/2 the package of the cinnamon chips. Reserve 2 cups of this mixture for the top. Press the remaining dough into a greased 9x13 inch pan. Bake for 10 minutes at 350 dgrees. Take out and immediately pour the sweetened condensed milk over the crust. Sprinkle with the toffee bits and then sprinkle the remaining dough over the milk and bits. Sprinkle with remaining half package of milk chocolate and cinnamon chips. Then return to the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes more or until set and golden brown.Let cool and just try and not dig into them with a spoon before cuttin them into bars!!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Rosemary Bread

When I saw this Bread over at Mel's Kitchen Cafe I just knew I had to try it. If you haven't figured this out yet I love bread in all forms. And homemade bread is just out of this world. It is hard for my family and I to even stomach store bought bread anymore. Now I know that some of you are scared to make bread but just let me tell you that you won't get better at it unless you practice. Just like playing an instrument or sports or whatever the more you practice the better you get at it. It took me a couple years to get really good at it. The first few times I attempted it flopped and I mean flopped. I was very discouraged but decided to keep trying and what do you know I can now make just about any kind of bread. So my advice to you all out there is give this bread and all bread a try. Keep practicing and you will not be disappointed. I served this bread with spaghetti. It had a nice crusty outside and soft interior. So good for dipping in sauce but would also be good dipped in a little balsamic vinegar and olive oil. We ate it the next day as toast slathered in butter and it was amazing!!!

Rosemary Bread
1 T. instant yeast or 1 1/2 T active dry yeast
1 T. Sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 3/4 -4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 T. dried rosemary, chopped and divided
2 T. Melted butter
Coarse salt, parm cheese, and garlic powder for sprinkling

In the bowl of your mixer, combine the yeast, sugar and water. If using active dry yeast, let the mixture stand until foaming and bubbly, about 5-10 minutes. If using instant yeast, proceed with recipe. Add two cups of the flour, salt, and 1 T. of the chopped rosemary. Mix. Continue adding flour, gradually, until a soft dough forms. Judge the dough based on textures and feel vs. how much actual flour you have added. The dough should be slightly tacky to the touch but should hold it's shape while still being soft and smooth. Knead the douch by hand or with the mixer for 4-5 minutes, adding flour only if the dough is sticky and not clearing the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl and cover with greased plastic wrap. Let the dough rise until doubled in size, about 1-2 hours depending on the warmth of your house. Once doubled, gently deflate the dough and divide in half. Prepare a rimmed baking sheet with parchment papper or a silpat liner. Shape the dough into two smooth oval shaped loaves and place on the baking sheet, one on each half of the tray so they have room to rise and bake without touching. Use a brush to slather on the melted butter over the top of the loaves. Continue brushing the butter until it is gone(the loaves will be well saturated)Sprinkle each loaf with salt, parm cheese, garlic powder and additional chopped rosemary if desired. Cover the loaves with lightly greased plastic wrap and let them rise again utnil puffy and nearly doubled, about and hour. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Bake the loaves for 18-20 minutes until browned and baked through. Transfer to a cooling rack and just try and not eat both loaves in one sitting!!!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Mac 'n Cheese

Growing up we occasionally had boxed Macaroni and cheese because it was quick to make and cheap for our big family of 8. I actually really liked it and still to this day I do but there is just something about homemade that is just out of this world. I absolutely love homemade mac n cheese and pretty much that is the only kind we eat around here. I have been searching for just the right recipe for it and I have finally found one I like. You see because I like mine to taste more like just melted cheese over noodles than noodles with a melted velveeta cheese sauce. Mine also has to be baked in the oven with a little extra cheese and bread crumbs(preferably from homemade bread)on top. So if you love HOmemade Mac N cheese you better go give this recipe a try you family will thank you for it!!! Oh and one more thing don't try to skinny this recipe with skim milk and such it just won't be as good. It is mac n cheese for goodnesssake just enjoy it! YOu have to be able to indulge sometimes just run and extra mile in your workout the day you make it if that makes you feel better!!!

Macaroni and Cheese
1 stick butter
1/2 cup flour
5 cups whole milk
2 lbs grated cheddar cheese or half cheddar half pepperjack
4 tsp (heaping) dry ground mustard(found in spice isle)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp seasoned salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 - 1 1/2 lb of favorite shaped pasta(we like elbows or bowties but use what you like)
1-2 cups bread crumbs

Cook pasta until al dente according to pkg directions. Meanwhile melt the butter in a large pot. Whisk in the flour and cook for one minute stirring so it doesn't burn. Whisk in the milk, mustard, salt, season salt, and pepper and continue stirring and cooking for five to ten minutes until very thick. Reduce heat to low and add in the grated cheese and stir until the cheese is melted and sauce is smooth. Dump in the cooked pasta and stir well. Pour into a 9x13 inch pan or large casserole dish. Top with a little extra cheese and sprinkle with as much bread crumb as you like. I tend to go closer to 2 cups but do what you and your family likes. Bake at 350 for about 30-40 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Yum!!!!

Note: if you like the gooey cheesy kind of mac n cheese than don't bake it just eat it right away!!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Honey Sesame Chicken

Like I have mentioned a time or two before on this blog we love love Chinese food. I find it hard to find chinese recipes that turn out the way that I want them to. So when I do I must share them. NOw I still like the Sweet and sour chicken recipe better but this chicken was good and my family liked it so it will reappear at our dinner table. If you love chinese food give this chicken a try it is worth the effort!!

Honey Sesame Chicken
1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts(cut into 1 inch cubes)
oil(for deep frying)
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1 egg white
4 T. oil
2 tsp ground ginger
1 T minced garlic
2 tsp salt
9 T. honey
1 T. rice wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups water
3 tsp cornstarch mixed with 3tsp water
Sesame seeds (for garnish)

In a large bowl mix all the batteringredients until smooth. Cover and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes. Add chicken to the batter tossing to coat. Heat a deap fryer to 350 degrees. Fry chicken in batches for 2 minutes or until batter becomes firm. Drain on paper towels and place in a glass 9x13 inch pan. Set aside

Heat the oil in your wok. add garlic and ginger and stir fry for 30 seconds. Add salt, honey, vinegar, and water. Mix well. Combine the water and cornstarch and add to the sauce and simmer for 2 minutes. Pour over the chickn in pan and place in a 350 degree oven till bubbly and chicken is well glazed with sauce, about 30 minutes. Serve with rice and sesame seeds as garnish.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Homemade Snickers Bars

Let me tell you these bars are fabulous. I mean who doesn't like chocolate peanut butter and caramel. The do taste very similar to a Snickers candy bar. Now these have a few steps since you have to let each layer set but they are easy to make. Don't be discouraged by the steps go make these today you won't be disappointed!!!

Snickers Bars

First Layer:
1 1/4 cup milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

Place in a microwave safe bowl and microwave, in 30 second increments stirring until melted and smooth. Spread into a greased 9x13 inch pan. Put in fridge until set.

Second layer:
4 T. butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1 1/2 cup marshmallow creme
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup chopped peanuts

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add in the sugar and milk and bring to a boil. Cook for 3 minutes stirring constantly. Remove from heat and quickly stir in the marshmallow creme, peanut butter, and vanilla. Stir in the peanuts. Pour over the chocolate layer and spread evenly. Place in fridg until set.

Third Layer:
14 oz bag caramels or 11 oz bag caramel bits(but caramel bits are way more expensive so I buy the caramels instead but do what you like)
2 T evaporated milk

Place in a microwave safe bowl and heat in microwave(30 second increments, stirring)until melted and smooth. Spread over marshmallow creme layer. and PLace in frige until set.

Fourth layer:
1 1/4 cup milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

Melt in microwave like the first layer and spread over top of the caramel. Plave in fridge till set. Cut into squares and enjoy!!

Note: best served cold. so they aren't a complete sticky mess.Store leftovers in fridge if there are any!!!