Au Gratin Potatoes ~ The Pioneer Woman’s Version

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Happy New Year!!!  I hope everyone had a great holiday season!

I have changed up my blog a bit.  I was getting bored with it and hope that this redecorating will get me jazzed up again.

One of the side dishes I made for Christmas was these au gratin potatoes.  The main reason I chose this recipe was because I didn’t have to use my mandolin to slice the potatoes.  I cannot be trusted with that thing and shouldn’t even own one.

Mr. Meat Eater and I loved this recipe.  It’s so easy to put together and would taste great with any main dish.  It’s a great dish to serve on a holiday but not complicated at all.  I made half of the recipe and I chunked my potatoes even though the recipe said to dice them.  I thought I remembered seeing Ree make this on her show and remembered that she didn’t peel or dice her potatoes.  I did peel mine since leaving the peel on would not be a favorite for me.  Other than that, I made it as the recipe stated.

Au Gratin Potatoes

The Pioneer Woman’s Au Gratin Potatoes

2 tablespoons butter, softened
8 large russet potatoes, scrubbed clean and peeled (or leave the peels on)
3 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk ~ I used 2%
1/4 cup flour
Salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
2 cups grated sharp Cheddar
2 green onions, sliced thin ~ I didn’t use these because I forgot

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a large baking dish with the butter. Since I halved the recipe I used a 9×9 baking dish.

Slice the potatoes into sticks, and then cut the sticks to create a dice. As you can see in my picture, I left mine in chunks.

Mix the cream and milk in a bowl. Add the flour, salt and some pepper. Whisk it together well so that the flour is incorporated into the milk/cream mixture. Add the diced or chunked potatoes to the buttered baking dish and pour the cream/milk mixture all over the top.

Cover with foil and bake for 20 to 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake 15 to 20 more minutes. Sprinkle on the grated cheese and return to the oven until the cheese is melted, 3 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle on the green onions and serve.

Source: The Pioneer Woman

Happy Cooking!

Peppermint Bark

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This is so embarrassingly easy that it hardly counts as a recipe.  I’ve had several people ask me how to make it so I decided to put it here.  I usually only make it around Christmas and I have no idea why as it would be great any time of the year and I can find the ingredients all year long.

I use CandiQuik for the white chocolate.  There are many different brands of candy coating and any one of them will work.  CandiQuik looks like this:

candiquik

It comes in vanilla and chocolate.

Here is another version of bark that I made a couple of years ago ~ Cranberry Nut Chocolate Bark

Peppermint Bark

Peppermint Bark

1 pkg vanilla CandiQuik
1 bag hard, round peppermint candy

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Unwrap the peppermints and place in a ziplock bag. Smash all the peppermints in the bag with a meat mallet or a rolling pin until all the pieces are small.

Melt all the CandiQuik according to the package directions. At this point, I dump the melted chocolate into a bowl and then dump in the peppermints and mix well.

Pour over the parchment paper and let harden. If it seems to be taking a long time to harden, place in the refrigerator until hardened.

Break up into pieces with your hands.

Easy peasy!

Happy Cooking!

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Lemon-Buttered Dill Stuffed Potatoes

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I love potatoes and these are wowee awesome!

Making these potatoes are a little more complicated than just mashing but they are worth it.  Even Mr. Meat Eater liked them and he is not really a potato fan. Fresh dill and fresh lemon juice are a must.   Just be careful when scooping out the potato pulp not to split the shell.  It helps to leave a thin layer of potato on the shell to make it more stable.

I think these would be easy to freeze if you have leftovers or want to make them as a freezer meal.

Potatoes 2

Lemon-Buttered Dill Stuffed Potatoes

4 large potatoes, baked
8 tbsps butter, melted
1/3 cup sour cream
2 tbsps fresh dill, finely chopped
4 tsps fresh lemon
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1 tbsp onion, finely minced
salt and pepper to taste
paprika for garnish if desired

Preheat oven to 350°.

Cut each potato in half lengthwise and scoop out pulp, leaving the skin as a shell. It helps to leave a thin layer of potato still on the skin as it makes the shells more sturdy.

In a large bowl, mix potato pulp with 5 tbsps melted butter and remaining ingredients except paprika. Beat with mixer until smooth.

Scoop mixture back into the shells. Brush with remaining 3 tbsps of butter. Sprinkle with paprika.

Bake 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned.

COOK’S NOTE: Potatoes can be made up and refrigerated several hours or overnight BEFORE baking.

Makes 8 servings.

Adapted from Dining By Fireflies.

Happy Cooking!

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Looking for Cinco de Mayo Recipes?

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Cinco de Mayo pics 2

Top Row, Left to Right:

Guacamole Nachos

Easy Mexican Rice

Stacked Chicken Quesadillas

Middle Row, Left to Right:

Cheese Stuffed Chipotle Burgers

Chicken Enchiladas (and a sangria recipe)

Grilled Nachos

Bottom Row, Left to Right:

Huevos Rancheros from Simply Recipes

Mix-Your-Own Taco Spice

Fiesta Chicken Tacos

Happy Cooking!

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Blueberry Cream Cheese French Toast with Blueberry Sauce

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I love baked French toast and there are so many kinds out there. I tried this one a few weeks ago and I actually made half the recipe since it was just Mr. Meat Eater and I so the recipe works perfectly if you need to cut it in half.

I always use challah bread for my baked French toast.  I like it because it’s a bit sweet and dense so it’s perfect for French toast.  If you can’t find challah, Hawaiian sweet bread or French bread would work just as well.

If I am having the casserole for dinner, I put it together the first thing in the morning and refrigerate until cooking time.  The blueberry sauce in this recipe, can be made in the morning, refrigerated, and reheated for dinner.

Just out of the oven ~

Blueberry 1

Blueberry 2

Blueberry Cream Cheese French Toast with Blueberry Sauce

12 slices bread with crusts trimmed
2 (8 oz) pkgs cream cheese, softened and cut into 1″ cubes
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries ~ I used frozen wild blueberries
12 large eggs
2 cups milk
1/3 cup honey
Blueberry sauce

Cut the bread into 1″ cubes and place half the cubes in a lightly greased 13×9 baking dish. Top with all the cream cheese cubes. Cover with the rest of the bread cubes and the 1 cup blueberries.

Whisk together the eggs, milk and honey and pour over the bread/cream cheese cubes.

Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking.

Bake, covered, at 350º for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 20-30 more minutes or until set in the middle.

Serve with warm blueberry sauce.

Blueberry Sauce

1 cup sugar
2 tbsps cornstarch
1 cup water
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp butter

Combine sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan. Add 1 cup water and bring to a boil. Boil, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Add berries and cinnamon. Reduce heat and simmer 8-10 minutes or until berries pop. Stir in butter.

French toast makes 8 servings.

Adapted from Victorian Thymes and Pleasures

Happy Cooking!

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Guinness Chocolate Cake

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Well, I’ve made Guinness cupcakes and brownies so it only stands to reason that I would eventually make a Guinness cake.

This cake is very moist and delicious.  After a day or two, it tastes even better.   For the frosting, the directions said to make it look like the head of a glass of Guinness but I am not thrilled with all that drippy frosting so I just frosted the top with no dripping on the sides.

Guinness Chocolate Cake

Guinness Chocolate Cake

12 oz Guinness Extra Stout
1 stick plus 2 tbsp butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla
2 cup flour
2 1/2 tsp baking soda

Frosting

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350º. Line the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan with parchment paper, then butter the parchment and the sides of the pan.

Pour the Guinness into a saucepan and add the butter by the tablespoonful and heat until the butter is melted. Whisk in the cocoa and sugar and set aside.

Beat the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Pour the Guinness mixture into the sour cream mixture and whisk in the flour and baking soda.

Pour the batter into the prepared ban. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Mine took 1 hour exactly.

Let cool completely on a cooling rack. When completely cool, remove from pan and set on a cake stand. I put the cake stand on top of the cake and flipped it right side up so that the bottom of the cake became the top and I was able to remove the bottom of the springform pan and the parchment paper. The bottom is also smoother and flatter to frost.

Frost the top of the cake so that it looks like a head of a glass of beer.

Makes 10-12 servings.

Frosting

Lightly whip the cream cheese until smooth with a mixer. Sift in the sugar and beat together. When smooth, beat in the heavy cream. Frost top of cake using all the icing.

Adapted from Paws-itively Good Chow

Happy Cooking!

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Cranberry Nut Chocolate Bark

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Something I  made when we had a few friends over before Christmas was this bark.  I saw the recipe on King Arthur Flour and it looked so delicious to me that I had to try it.

It’s easy to make even though it may not look that way.  Just make sure to follow the steps and yours will turn out great, too.

The recipe called for semisweet and white chocolate but I used the packages of chocolate and white bark that you can buy in the grocery store. They melt easily and then harden back up easily and they taste good.

Chocolate, Pecan, Cranberry Bark

Cranberry Nut Chocolate Bark

1 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup toasted pecans
1 pkg chocolate bark, melted
1 pkg white chocolate bark, melted

In a small bowl, mix the cranberries and toasted pecans together and set aside.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Melt the chocolate bark according to the pkg directions. Spread into an oval on the parchment paper-lined cookie sheet and let set.

Melt the white chocolate according to the pkg directions and carefully spread over the chocolate layer. Before the white chocolate sets, sprinkle the cranberry and nut mixture over the top and press in lightly.

Let the chocolate harden for several hours and then break into chunks. If you are having trouble getting the chocolate to harden, put the pan in the refrigerator until hard.

Makes about 24 pieces.

Happy Cooking!

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