Thursday, May 23, 2013

Peach Malt

A Hinton family tradition from WAAAAAAYYY back is Peach Malt.  That's what all the Hinton family calls it, but it's not really a malt.  It's a  . . . smoothie?  milkshake?   I don't know, but it's good.  It's kind of evolved over the years.  When I first joined the family ( that's a long time ago!) it was made with just frozen peaches, sugar and milk blended in the blender.  But now Ken adds vanilla ice cream.  So I guess it's a smoothie changed to milkshake.  Ya, that's what it is.  I know others of the Hintons add lemon juice, or bananas,  and I don't know what all else.  I guess we all have our own version.  Ken's family had an orchard with many peach trees.  They would always freeze peaches and then make these throughout the year- usually on Sunday evenings.  We continued the tradition as we have three peach trees.  Many Sunday nights and family home evening nights we have this for a treat.  My husband always makes it.  I watched him make it, and this is what he did:

Peach Malt
Fill the blender about 1/3-1/2 full of frozen peaches (about two cups)
Add 1/4-1/3 cup sugar
Add several scoops of vanilla ice cream, then fill the blender container with milk.  Blend til it's all well blended and smooth.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Banana Bread Bars with Browned Butter Frosting

Like banana bread?  Then you'll LOVE these banana bread bars.  They are moist and yummy and the frosting is just delicious.  I feel I need to apologize for giving you this recipe.  These bars are addictive.

Banana Bread Bars
Cream together:
1/2 cup butter, very soft 
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
Beat until creamy and smooth.  Add:
*About 2 cups mashed banana ( 3-4 ripe bananas)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Mix well.  Turn off the mixer and add:
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
Turn on the mixer and mix for about a minute.  Stir in:
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

Spread into a well greased jelly roll pan(sided cookie sheet.)  Bake at 375 for about 20- 25 minutes or until they're just pulling away from the edges of the pan.

While the bars are baking, make the frosting:
Browned Butter Frosting
In a large saucepan, over medium heat, melt:
1/2 cup butter
Cook and stir until the butter turns brown.  Brown will start to come up from the bottom of the pan and it will smell really buttery and nutty.  Watch carefully as you don't want it to burn.  When golden brown remove from heat and add:
4 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
About 3 Tablespoons milk
Beat together until smooth and silky. It shouldn't be too thick like a set frosting, but more like a thick glaze.   

When the bars are done, let cool a minute or two, then put the frosting on.  The easiest way is put dabs all over the top and then gently spread with a spatula.  

*When bananas get too ripe, I break them in half and put them in a quart freezer zip lock bag.  I keep them in the freezer and add to the bag as I get more.  When I have enough, I make these bars (or banana bread, banana cake, smoothies, etc.)  Just let them thaw a bit( you can even thaw them in the microwave) and then while the bag is still closed, mash them right in the bag.  Then you can cut a corner off the bag and squeeze the banana mash right into the measuring cup.  

Monday, May 20, 2013

Patty's Baked Beans

 Here's an easy baked beans recipe that you can do in the crockpot- perfect for your summer barbecues.  Everyone loves these baked beans.  I got the recipe from my sister, Patty.

Patty's Baked Beans
 3 cans pork and beans, drain some of the liquid
1 can dark kidney beans, drained
1 can butter beans, drained
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green pepper, chopped
1 kilbasa sausage (can use light), cut in chunks Or 6-8 slices thick cut bacon, cut in chunks
1/2 cup molasses
1/2- 3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup ketchup
2-3 T. chili sauce (opt.)
Few splashes rice vinegar
Mix in crock pot and cook all day on low.  

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Neiman Marcus Chicken Salad

I don't know why this picture makes the salad look red.  It's not red, but it is delicious.  It's really a pretty basic chicken salad recipe, but there's one important difference:  Whipping Cream.  You whip cream and add it at the end and boy, does it make it yummy!!!  I love easy summer, no cook, delicious meals.  We enjoy this as a sandwich in a croissant.  Add sliced avocado and it's over the moon delicious!
Neiman Marcus Chicken Salad (Slightly altered)
4 cups cooked chicken, diced (I used rotisserie chicken, but breasts only would be good, too)
1 cup mayonaise
1 cup diced celery
1  cup grapes, halved
1 Tablespoon chopped parsley
1 bunch green onion, chopped (opt:  this wasn't in the original recipe, but I think it needs it)
1 tsp salt (more or less, depending on how seasoned the chicken is)
1/2 cup toasted chopped almonds or cashews
1/2 cup whipping cream, whipped

Combine all except the whipping cream.  Gently fold in the cream after all is mixed together.  Serve on croissants or on a lettuce leaf.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Chicken Stuffing Casserole in the Crockpot

I love this casserole.  It reminds me of Thanksgiving dinner.  I've made this casserole for years, but recently discovered it works greats in the crockpot.  But spray it well.  With the cheese, it tends to stick.
Chicken Stuffing Casserole in the Crockpot
4-6 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
6 slices Swiss cheese
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup milk
1 package Stove Top Stuffing (or equivalent)
1/2 cup butter, melted

Spray the Crockpot really well.  Arrange the chicken breasts in the bottom ( my crockpot cooks so fast I often put in frozen breasts and it works great)  Next put the cheese slices.  Combine the soup and milk and pour over the chicken and cheese.  Then sprinkle the stuffing mix, then drizzle the butter over all.  Cook on low 8-10 hours.  Serve with cranberry sauce.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Peanut Blossom Cookies With Dove Chocolates

Everyone has this recipe.  It's as old as the hills.  But I recently discovered how much better these cookies are if you use Dove Milk Chocolate instead of a Hershey's kiss (Sorry Hershey's)   I made these heart shaped ones in February, and square ones are perfect for anytime.

  They might not be as pretty as a kiss, so you'll have to decide if you want prettier cookies or better tasting cookies. I know which I'm choosing!

Dove Peanut Blossom Cookies 
1 cup butter
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons milk
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon soda

Cream the butters with the sugars.  Add the milk, eggs and vanilla.  Mix well.  Turn off the mixer and add the dry ingredients.  Turn on the mixer and mix well until all is well combined into a soft dough.   Roll the dough into balls.  Roll the balls in white sugar and put on a greased or silicone sheeted cookie pan.  Bake 7 minutes at 375.  Take out the pan and put a dove chocolate on each one and slightly press down.  Put the sheet back in the oven and bake another 1-2 minutes until the chocolate is glistening.  Don't overbake!  Cool on rack.    *I like to freeze the sugared dough balls in quart-sized ziplock bags to be baked when I want.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Creamy Chicken Pasta Casserole

This is a delicious and easy baked pasta casserole.  It is really creamy and yummy.

Creamy Chicken Pasta Casserole
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or crushed
2 cups packed baby spinach leaves, you can leave them whole or chop them
2-3 cup cooked chicken that is chopped ( I use rotissire chicken)
8 ounces cream cheese
1 lb. pasta, orecchiette (little hats) or farfalle (bowties), cooked al dente

Salt and Pepper to taste
1 1/2- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese for the top

Preheat the oven to 350.  Spray a 9x13 pan well.
In a large pot, cook the onion in the oil.  Cook until soft.  Add the garlic and cook another minute.  Stir in the spinach and cook and stir until wilted.  Add the chicken, cream cheese and seasonings.  Cook and stir until cheese is melted and coats the vegetables and chicken.  Add the still a little bit firm pasta and stir well.  Transfer to the prepared pan and top with the mozzarella cheese.  Bake until hot and bubbly and cheese is melted.  It will only take about 15- 20 minutes.  Let set for a few minutes before serving.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Mario Batali's Ragu Bolognese

A classic Italian dish is Ragu Bolognese.  Every Italian family has their own version of the recipe.  I copied this one from Iron Chef Mario Batalli.  It takes awhile to make, but it then makes many meals.  I think we've had it four times and I still have enough in the freezer to have it again a couple of times.  I guess that's how they do it in Italy- make a big batch, then always have it on hand for a quick dinner.  I've altered it slightly (I know, who I am to alter Mario Batali?  But, with all the tomato, I thought it needed a bit of sugar to cut the acid.  And I made a couple of other noted changes.)

Mario Batali's Ragu Bolognese

1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons butter
2 onions, finely chopped
4 ribs celery, finely diced
2 carrots, finely diced
5 garlic cloves, chopped, crushed or sliced
2 1/2 pounds ground or chopped meats (Batali's recipe suggested 1 lb. ground pork, 1 lb. ground veal, and 1/2 pound ground pancetta.  I used 1 lb. ground beef, 1 lb. sweet Italian sausage, and 1/2 pound finely chopped bacon.  He said this is what varies from family to family- what meats they use.)
1 4.5 ounce tube tomato paste
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 cup whole milk or half and half
1 cup dry white wine (I substituted chicken stock)
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 lb. fresh pasta (his recipe called for 1 1/2 pounds, but I felt this ratio of sauce to pasta was better)
1/2 cup grated Pamigiano- Reggiano cheese

Heat the oil and butter in a heavy 6-8 quart pot or dutch oven.  Add the onion, celery, carrots, and garlic.  Add salt.  Cook and stir until vegetables are soft, but not browned.
Add the meats.  Increase the heat to high and cook and stir for about 10-15 minutes.  Meats should be dark brown and the fat rendered completely from the meat.  You will see fat pooled  in the bottom of the pan.  Add the tomato paste and sugar and cook another 2-3 minutes.  It should turn a rusty orange color.  Then add the milk and cook another couple of minutes.  Then add the wine (or substitute) and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 2-3 hours.  (Your kitchen will smell like Italian heaven!)  Add salt and pepper (I added a pinch of red pepper flakes).  Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking.  YUMMY!   Let cool.  Put in 2 cup containers and store in the freezer or the fridge for up to a week.

When you're ready to make the pasta:
Heat a large pot of salted water (Batali says it should be as salty as the sea!)  Add the pasta.  Cook 1 minute less than the package says.  It should be al dente.  Drain, but reserve some of the pasta water.

In a large saute' pan, heat 1 1/2- 2 cups of the sauce.  Add the cooked pasta and about 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water.  Stir to coat pasta.  Add more water pasta water if needed.  Add the cheese and several drizzles of olive oil.  Stir until creamy.  Toss in the parsley.  Serve with more cheese on top.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Rice Crem from Norway

This is Norway's delicious version of rice pudding.  I got the recipe from my sister Joan's recipe book(All four sisters in our family have published cook books.  I guess you could say we're foodies!)  She made it for our family Heritage dinner recently, where we made foods from the lands of our ancestors.  It was absolutely delicious: creamy and rich.  She served it with strawberry sauce(thinned strawberry jam) on top.  If you like rice pudding, you'll LOVE this one!

Rice Crem
In a large pot, mix together:
1 cup rice, rinsed
1 quart whole milk
1 cup sugar
Simmer on low for 4-5 hours.
When it's thick, add:
1Tablespoon vanilla
Cool.  When completely cool, add
1 cup whipping cream that has been whipped and sweetened.

Serve with raspberry or strawberry sauce.

Traditionally in Norway, a whole almond is hidden in the pudding.  The person who gets the almond will have good luck for the next year.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Whole Wheat Bread

I make this bread every two weeks and it's the bread we use all the time for everything. It makes 5 loaves so I leave out two fresh loaves and wrap and freeze the other three and pull them out as we need them. Since I use and love this recipe I decided it was time to post and share it. The original recipe is from one of my Mom's friends, Linda Neumann.

6 cups warm water
2/3 cup oil
2/3 cup honey
2 TBSP instant yeast (I use saf-instant and love it.)
2 TBSP dough enhancer (I don't have this so I use gluten instead and it works great.)
2 cups whole-wheat flour
2 tsp salt
9 to 12 cups whole-wheat flour (I grind my own wheat into flour for this bread.)

Combine water, oil, honey, and yeast. Mix at speed #2 of Bosch or other bread mixer for 2 minutes (or mix w/ a hand mixer). Add the dough enhancer or gluten, 2 cups whole wheat flour, and salt and keep mixer going or mix by hand. (If I'm using older wheat I'll double the gluten I put in.) With mixer on speed 2, slowly add 9 to 12 cups flour until sides of bowl are clean. (Or knead by hand.) The dough will be sticky. Mix on speed 1 or 2 for 8 to 10 minutes (or knead by hand). Shape into loaves and place in pans (grease pans that don't have teflon). Lightly cover and raise until double in size. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. All ovens vary so make sure you test the bread to make sure it's done by taking it out of the pan with hot pads and tap or knock on the bottom of the loaf. If it sounds hollow it's done baking. If not stick it back in for a few more minutes.

Note: The original recipe says for best results use freshly ground flour made with spring or golden wheat rather than hard red wheat.