Friday, May 18, 2018

Italian Wedding Soup

This soup is so easy to make, a little time consuming but well worth it. I like to serve it with a nice rustic crusty bread, or I make my Garlic Rosemary Bread, the recipe is here on my blog.  This is hearty and great on chilly days. I make a large pot and freeze half and use for another time.

What You Will Need:
Measuring Cup
Measuring Spoons
Sharp Knife
Large Pot
Parchment Paper *Optional*
Mixing Bowl Small
Mixing Bowl Large
Large Baking Sheet *Optional*
Wooden Spoon
Serving Bowls

1-Onion finely chopped or grated
1/3-Cup Dried Parsley
1-Egg Large
2-Teaspoons Garlic Minced
1/2-Teaspoon Salt
1-Cup Bread Crumbs or 1-slice of white bread, crust trimmed and torn into small pieces
1/2-Cup Parmesan Cheese Grated
1-Pound Ground Beef (Hamburger) *I use 80-20, meaning 20% fat
*Note: Sometimes I use 8-Ounces ground Sweet Sausage & 8-Ounces of the ground beef*
1/2-Teaspoon Cracked Black Pepper
1/2-Teaspoon Salt
1/2-Cup Dry White Wine

Directions For The Meatballs:
Line your baking sheet with Parchment Paper. I chose to just use my counter top and laid the Parchment on top.  Put the first 6-ingredients into the large mixing bowl and mix with your hands. Once blended, add in the remaining ingredients, mix well. Shape the ground beef mixture into little balls about 2-inches, you can make them smaller if you like. Just roll the meat around in your hands.  Lay each meatball that you make onto the parchment paper.  Keep doing this until all of the ground beef mixture is gone. Set aside. I had extra meat mixture so I made larger meatballs and put them in a Ziplock Freezer bag and froze them for another time. There's 50-meatballs that I had used for the soup.

4-Carrots Cut On A Diagonal
4 32-Ounce Boxes Organic Sodium-Free Chicken Broth
1-Pound Kale *Remove the leaves from the stems by holding with one hand and stripping upwards with the other.* After you remove from the stems, roll the Kale into a small bunch and chop with a Sharp Kitchen Knife.
2-Eggs Large
3-Tablespoons Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2-Teaspoon Salt
1/2-Teaspoon Cracked Black Pepper
2 1/4-Cups Dry Orzo *I didn't have any on hand so I used medium size dry Shell Pasta*

Directions For Soup:
Add all of the Chicken Broth into the large pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Drop the meatballs into the broth one at a time. Add in the Kale and Carrots. Cook until the Carrots, meatballs and Kale are cooked through and tender, about 8-10 minutes.  Add the pasta to the soup and gently stir with the wooden spoon.

While the soup is cooking, take your small mixing bowl and crack in the 2-eggs, be careful as not to get the shells inside the bowl.  Whisk the eggs and then add in the Parmesan Cheese, continue whisking until well blended. With the wooden spoon, gently stir the soup in a circular motion.  Now, drizzle the egg and cheese mixture into the soup, stirring gently for about a minute.

Check the pasta and see if it's Al Dente, not too soft, firm to the bite. You don't want your pasta mushy or too firm. Ladle the soup into serving bowls.  You can serve with Crusty Bread or my Garlic Rosemary Bread. I tuck a piece into the bowl of soup and serve that way. You can also add a sprinkling of cheese, you can never have enough cheese.  Mangiare!!

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Home Made Pizza

As many of you know by now, I love baking, cooking and canning.  I make the majority of my meals and desserts from scratch.  It's very satisfying to me to make healthy home made food.  I used my home made Spaghetti Sauce which is list here on my blog. My two grand kids, Annalise 16 and my grandson Caleb 6 both helped me, they love to help. I feel it's good to teach children how to cook and spending time with each other and away from electronics and the television makes for great bonding time and conversations.  It was the perfect day for doing this, it was chilly and raining. We had the fireplaces lit, there's nothing better than the smell of burning wood and hearing the wood popping.  The music was turned up and we were singing and dancing barefoot in my kitchen. I'm hoping that I'm making great memories for them at Granny K, AKA: K's house.  That's what the grand kids call me.  I'm the youngest of the gramma's, it originally started as a joke and the name just seemed to stick.  When my 4-kids were young, I did the same with them, and we still continue this tradition on the holidays and get-to-gethers. We all congregate in the kitchen, cooking, baking, laughing, dancing or singing.  Life is good.

  Caleb with McKenna on the left and Capone on the right.

Note: Makes 2-Pizzas

Home Made Pizza Dough Freezer-Friendly
2-Cups warm water **105-115-degrees Fahrenheit, use a Candy Thermometer**
2-Tablespoons Active Dry Yeast
2-Teaspoons Sugar
2-Teaspoons Salt
4-Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
5-Cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour. *Some times I use Wheat or do a 50/50 of both* Plus some extra for the Cutting Board
Corn Meal

Ground Beef rolled into little meat balls. I don't season these.
Pepperoni Sliced
Mushrooms Sliced
Red and Green Peppers cut into diced pieces
Onions Sliced
Mozzarella Cheese Grated
My Spaghetti Sauce or Jar store purchased is fine

What You Will Need:
Measuring Cup
Measuring Spoons
Pizza Stone if you have one, if not, a large baking sheet will work. 
Stand Mixer with a Bread Hook. Or you can use your hands.
Zip Lock Freezer Bag
Wood Cutting Board
Dough Cutter or Sharp Knife
Candy Thermometer
Large Mixing Bowl. 2 if you don't have a stand mixer.
Wooden Spoon
Plastic Wrap
Rolling pin
Oven Mitts
Pizza Wheel Cutter or Sharp Knife
Large Spatula

**Place your Pizza Stone in to your cold oven on the bottom rack, turn on to 450-degrees Fahrenheit** (I remove the other racks, it's easier to maneuver the hot Pizza Stone later)

Directions On How To Make The Dough:
Pour the warm water into the large bowl, make sure that the temperature is correct by using the candy thermometer. Sprinkle the yeast into the bowl and stir with the wooden spoon until well dissolved, set aside. Add all of the dry ingredients above, as well as the Extra Virgin Olive Oil, into the stand mixer using the bread hook attachment. Now, add in a little of the yeast mixture, mix on low-speed to start.  Gradually keep adding in the wet mixture to the dry increasing the speed to medium. Continue doing this until all of the wet is well incorporated into the dry. If the dough is sticky, add in some more flour, keep mixing on medium-speed.  You want the dough to be firm, not stiff and no longer sticky to the touch.  

Using the wooden cutting board, sprinkle some flour all over the top of it, not too thick. Remove the  dough from the mixing bowl and place on the flour dusted wooden cutting board.  Knead the dough with your hands for 2-5-minutes until it becomes smooth and not lumpy.  If it's still lumpy, add a little more flour to the cutting board and continue kneading. When the dough is at the right consistency it will actually have a little bit of a sheen to it.  Now roll the dough into a ball. Using your Dough Cutter, cut into 4-equal sections and roll in to balls.  You can either use all 4 to make 4-pizzas or freeze half and use at a later date, I chose to freeze half. Take each dough ball and wrap in plastic wrap, then put them in the Zip Lock Freezer Bag,  I also put the date on the bag so I know when I had made them. 

The dough balls that you didn't freeze, using your Rolling Pin, roll out onto the wooden cutting board with a little flour spread on the top surface.  Keep rolling out until you have an even disc. Once you have it rolled out in to the disc, sprinkle some of the corn meal on top of the dough and spread all around the dough evenly.  The corn meal helps prevent the pizza from burning and sticking to the Pizza Stone. Now here's where you have to be careful because I don't have a Pizza Paddle, if you do that's great use it.  Putting on your Oven Mitts, carefully remove the stone from the oven and place on a heat resistant surface.  Remove your Oven Mitts and flip the corn meal dusted side of the dough down on to the top of the hot Pizza Stone. BE VERY CAREFUL!!  If the dough isn't placed completely evenly on top of the Pizza Stone, don't worry about it. 

Now ladle the sauce onto the dough until it is completely covering the dough disc.  Add your topping over top of the sauce leaving the Mozzarella Cheese for last.  You can use what ever toppings you like and add as much as you like or don't like. We had made one with everything that is listed above and one that was a meat-lovers, just the sauce meatballs, pepperoni and cheese.  

Put your Oven Mitts back on and place the Pizza Stone back in to the hot oven, be very careful. Bake for about 10-minutes or until the crust looks light brown and is crispy.  When it's done, remove the hot Pizza Stone with your Oven Mitts, place on a heat-resistant surface and let cool for about 5-10 minutes or so.  Using a knife or Pizza Wheel Cutter, cut into equal pieces, remove with the spatula and serve.

How To Use The Frozen Dough:
Take the dough out of the freezer. In a large bowl, put some Extra Virgin Olive Oil on a paper towel and rub the sides and bottom of the bowl. Remove the dough from the freezer bag and place in to the greased bowl.  Cover with a linen dish towel and let thaw at room temperature for at least 4-hours or until completely thawed and you can handle it.  Roll the dough out on to a floured wooden Cutting Board, into a disc and follow the above instructions.

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Banana Chocolate Chip Bread

Tip: Buy bananas on sale, let them sit out on your counter or wherever you put them and let them turn black.  By doing this it releases the natural sugars in the bananas making them sweeter.  Remove the bananas from their skins and place in a freezer zip lock bag or freezer-proof container.  Use the bananas at a later date for banana bread, smoothies, etc.,.

2 1/4-Cups All-Purpose Unbleached Flour.  *I use unbleached it's better for you than bleached.*
1-Tablespoon plus and additional 1/2-Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2-Teaspoon Salt
1-Cup Brown Sugar firmly packed
1/4-Cup Sugar *I use unbleached*
2-Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
2-Cups Mashed Bananas ripe
1/3-Cup Whole Milk
3-Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1-Egg large
1-Teaspoon White Vinegar
1-Cup Walnuts Chopped *Optional*
1-Cup Chocolate Chips
Solid Shorting ie,. Crisco.  You can use liquid if you don't have solid

What You Will Need:
"5x9" 1.5-Quart Bread Loaf Pan. I use glass.
Wooden Spoon
Stand Mixer or Hand Mixer
Large Mixing Bowl if using Hand Mixer
Another Large Bowl for liquid ingredients
Piece of Paper Towel
Oven mitts
Measuring Spoons
Measuring Cup
Tooth Picks

Pre-Heat your oven to 350-Degrees Farenheit

Scoop out a little bit of the Crisco using the paper towel, or pour a little of the vegetable oil into the bread baking dish.  Wipe the sides and the bottom of the baking dish with the paper towel, coat evenly and set aside.

Combine the first 6-ingredients in a large bowl, or using your stand mixer bowl.  Make a well in the center of the ingredients. **Well means to make a small hole.** Using the large mixing bowl combine the bananas, milk, oil, egg, and vinegar; beat using the whisk or use the wooden spoon. Mix until well combined. Now, take the liquid mixture and add into the dry ingredients in the middle of the well. Use low-speed to start so you don't blow the ingredients all over your kitchen.  Slowly increase to medium speed until all of the ingredients are well blended. Stop your mixer and add in the nuts and chocolate chips, stir with the wooden spoon, by using the spoon you won't break up the chocolate chips.

*I had made 2-breads on this day, 1-Pumpkin Nut shown on the left and 1-Banana Bread on the right.* The recipe for the Pumpkin Nut is listed here on my blog.

Using your spatula, scrape the banana bread mixture into the greased bread baking dish.  Scrape the sides of the bowl to get it all.  Place the baking dish into your oven and bake for about 60-minutes depending on your oven.  After the 60-minutes, remove the dish with your oven mitts and place on to a heat-resistant surface. Insert a tooth pick half-way down the tooth pick, pull the pick out. If it still has some batter attached, put the loaf pan back into the oven and bake for a few more minutes. Discard the tooth pick.  Repeat and remove and check again. Once the pick is clean... no batter on the pick, then it is completely cooked through.  Discard tooth pick. Serve warm or cold.

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Monday, May 14, 2018

Pumpkin Nut Bread

I was bored and had pumpkins that I had processed and put into the freezer.  It's a bit too early in the year for you to process pumpkins, the directions are here on my blog. You can however purchase canned pumpkin at the store. Just make sure that it is Pure Pumpkin Puree and not Pie Filling, there is a difference.

What you will need:
I used my KitchenAid Stand Mixer with flat beater attachment, you can use a hand mixer if you don't own one.
Bread Loaf Baking Pan "5"x"9" 1.5 Quart.  I used glass.
Wooden Spoon
Measuring Cup
Measuring Spoons
Piece of paper Towel
Oven Mitt
Tooth Picks
Large Mixing Bowl if not using Stand Mixer

2-Cups All Purpose Unbleached Flour *You can use bleached, I don't.*
1-Teaspoon Salt
1/2-Teaspoon Baking Powder
1-Teaspoon Baking Soda
2-Teaspoons Ground Cloves
2-Teaspoons Ground Nutmeg
2-Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
2-Teaspoons Ground Ginger
2-Teaspoons Ground Allspice
2-Cups Sugar
1 1/2-Sticks Butter, room temperature-softened
2-Large Eggs
1-Cup Crushed Walnuts *Optional*
20-Ounces  of Pumpkin Puree either can or home processed
Crisco Solid or any Pure Vegetable Oil

Pre-heat your oven to 350-Degrees Fahrenheit

Scoop out a little bit of the Crisco using your paper towel, or pour a little of the Vegetable oil into the baking pan.  Wipe the sides and bottom of the baking pan with the paper towel, coat evenly. Set aside.

Combine all of the dry ingredients into the stand mixer or bowl, depending on what you are using. Mix well on low-speed. Now add in the butter and eggs on low-speed, mix until well blended. Add in the pumpkin, mix well on medium-speed until all ingredients are incorporated.

*Note:  I usually taste the batter using a teaspoon to see how it tastes. Some times I add a little more spices. ie., Cinnamon, Ginger, Allspice, Cloves and Nutmeg*

Pour the batter into the greased baking pan.  Scrape the sides of the bowl with the spatula. Put the baking pan into your oven and bake for 65-75 minutes depending on your oven.  The bread will rise and around an hour, put on your oven mitts and take the baking pan out and place on a heat-resistant surface.  Insert a tooth pick into the middle of the bread and then take it out. If the tooth pick comes out clean with no batter on it, then it is fully baked.  If it has some batter on it, put the baking pan back into the oven and bake the remaining amount of time. Discard the tooth pick. Keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn, again, it all depends on how your oven bakes. Put your mitts back on and remove the pan from the oven and put on the heat-resistant surface. Check again with the tooth pick if it comes out clean. If it does, let cool or serve warm. Discard toothpick. In the photos you'll see 2-breads.

I made 1-Pumpkin Nut and 1-Banana Chocolate Chip. I'll post the Banana Bread recipe on a different page.


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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Baked Swai with Butternut Squash Salad

Here's another delicious and quick meal, it literally took me 30-minutes to make!

Serves: 1

*You can cook the whole package of Swai Fish, the one I purchased had 2-filets inside* You can also increase the serving size of the ingredients and feed your family, this was made for my lunch. 

What you will need:

Baking Sheet 

Parchment Paper

Sharp Knife

Measuring Spoons 

Measuring Cup

Oven Mitts

Saute Pan or frying pan


Spatula or Wooden Spoon

Large Plate

4-oz Swai Fish
Old Bay Seasoning *Enough to lightly cover the fish*
1-Cup Butternut Squash Cubed
Extra Virgin Olive Oil *I put mine in a spray pump dispenser*
1/2-Cup Green Beans
1/2-Cup Kernel Corn
2-Cups Spinach Fresh
1/4-Cup Dried Cranberries
Basil just a pinch 
Salt *Optional*

Set your oven at 350-degrees Fahrenheit 

Line your baking sheet with the parchment paper.
Remove the Swai from the package and lay onto the lined baking sheet.  Put the fish into the oven and bake for 12-minutes or until the flesh flakes easily with a fork.  Remove from the oven with the oven mitts, set aside on a heat proof surface when cooked.

While the fish is baking, spray your saute pan or frying pan with the extra virgin olive oil.  Place the pan onto your stove top and set to medium heat.  Add in the Butternut Squash cubes.  Gently turn all of the butternut squash with the spoon or spatula. Continue cooking for about 15-20 minutes or until fork tender.  Add in the Dried Cranberries, stir all together until well incorporated.  Cook for an additional 5-minutes.  Add a pinch of salt, which is optional.  Set aside. 

Heat up your corn and green beans either on top of the stove or using a microwave.  I add a pinch of Basil to the corn and stir it in.  This is optional. 

On the large plate, put the spinach down and then add on top the butternut squash with cranberries.  Plate the fish, green beans and corn.  Serve immediately. 

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Strawberry Salad

This is not only healthy and nutritious, but it taste great and it's so easy to make.

Servings: 1-Large or 2-Small

What you will need:
Sharp Knife
Large Bowl
Large Mixing Spoon

6-Large Strawberries Cut in half
1/4-Cup Black Walnuts Shelled and peeled
2-Cups Mixed Greens
2-Ounces Sweet Onion Sliced
1-Ounce Kerry Gold Dubliner Cheese Sliced
2-Tablespoons Strawberry Balsamic Vinegar *I use Maple Grove Farms*

Add all ingredients into the large bowl. Now toss so everything is well mixed together and incorporated.  Serve immediately.

You can add more or less Balsamic to your liking. Enjoy!

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Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Home Made Butter Using A Stand Mixer

This is so easy you won't even believe it yourself until you do it.  Butter is a bit costly, especially if you purchase brands that are imported like I do.  I love Kerry Gold and they are a wonderful company. I had called them and told them I love their cheeses and butter but it's a bit pricey here. They took my address and sent me coupons, I was very impressed.

Sometimes at the holidays I'll make flavored butters and leave them on the buffet table or give them to friends and family, along with a large mixed cookie tin and quick breads.  I have also given a basket made up of my home made Bread and Butter Pickles and Jams.  Honestly, I had more people request I keep doing this than purchasing gifts for them.

This recipe will make 1-Pound of fresh butter and about 4-Cups fresh buttermilk

What You Will Need:
Stand Mixer with both Paddle and Whisk attachments *A hand mixer should work too*
Plastic Wrap or Wax Paper
Measuring Cups and Spoons
Colander or Strainer
Clean Sterilized Mason Jar With Lid
Bread Baking Pan or Butter Molds *Optional*

1-Quart Heavy Cream *Cold*  (6-Cups)
3/4-Teaspoon Sea Salt finely ground *Optional*
Large Bowl Of Ice Water For Rinsing

**This gets a little bit messy so if you have the splash-guard attachment I would use it, I don't so I just cover the bowl with plastic wrap when the beaters are spinning.**

Add the cold heavy cream to your stand mixer bowl, using the paddle attachment.  Set the stand mixer to low to start, then turn up to medium speed for about 3-minutes. The heavy cream will first turn into whipped cream with soft peaks, as you continue to beat, the peaks will become stiffer.

Once the peeks become stiff, shut the mixer off and switch to the whisk attachment set to low and whisk for 1-minute. After the 1-minute, turn on high and keep beating until the cream breaks and you start to see butter forming on the sides of your mixing bowl.  The butter will then start to stick to the whisk in about 5-10 minutes or so.  You want to separate the butter fat from the liquid which is the buttermilk.

Once the cream has completely turned solid, pour the buttermilk out of the mixing bowl using your funnel and transferring it into the mason jar.  Put the lid on tightly and store in the refrigerator.  Some people love it, I actually hate the taste, but when added in to baking and cooking it's very good.

Place the colander or strainer into your kitchen sink and scoop out the butter from the mixing bowl either with your hands or the spatula and place into strainer or colander. Rinse the butter by pouring the ice water over it and pressing the butter into the colander or strainer using your spatula or both of your hands, this will express any left over buttermilk liquid.  Repeat this process until the water runs clear off of the butter.

Once the butter runs clear, scoop the butter out of the colander and place back into the stand mixer's mixing bowl.  Add the salt if you choose to, work the salt thoroughly through the butter using the whisk attachment on low or use both of your hands. Once thoroughly mixed you can mold the butter into the bread pan or mold into sticks like I have done here. If you have decorative butter molds you
can use them. Hint....hint... I wouldn't mind Santa bringing me a couple for Christmas. 😉 Once you do the molding or shaping you can wrap the butter up in either wax paper or plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator. The last photo is Honey Butter, to make just add 1/4-Cup of pure honey and mix with the butter when you're adding in the salt, then shape.

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