Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Prep Time:  25 minutes
Cook Time:  30 minutes
Servings:  9

1 3/4 cups pitted, chopped dates
1 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup butter
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/8 cups self-rising flour

3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup butter
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease an 8-inch square baking dish.
2.  In a small bowl combine the dates and baking soda.  Pour enough boiling water over the dates to just cover them.
3.  Cream 1/3 cup of butter with the white sugar until light.  Beat in the eggs and mix well to combine.
4.  Add the flour and date mixture (including water) to the egg mixture and fold to combine.  Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish.
5.  Bake in the preheated oven until a tester comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes.  Let cool slightly and prepare the sauce.
6.  To make caramel sauce:  In a small saucepan combine the brown sugar, 1/3 cup butter, and evaporated milk.  Cook over medium heat and bring to boil.  Turn heat down and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.  Pour the sauce over individual servings of warm cake.

Source:  allrecipes.com

No-Cream Creamy Basil Spinach Soup

from: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Plan ahead since the recipe calls for cooked chicken - or just leave it out (like I've done a time or two - makes a delicious, vegetarian dish).
         1 tablespoon olive oil
         1 clove garlic, crushed
         1 large or 2 medium leeks, green parts trimmed and discarded, white parts washed well and chopped
         2 medium zucchini, ends trimmed, and chopped (about 4 cups total)
         1 teaspoon salt
         1/2 teaspoon pepper
         2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
         2 tablespoons fresh basil
         2-3 cups fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
         1-2 cups cooked chicken
  In a saucepan, heat the olive oil and add the garlic, leeks and zucchini. Stir in the salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, 3-4 minutes, until the leeks have softened. Add 1 cup of the broth, cover and cook, stirring every once in a while, until the zucchini is falling apart and very tender, 8-10 minutes.
Transfer the mixture to a blender and add the basil. Carefully blend (in                     batches if needed). Pour the soup back into the pot. Stir in the remaining 1 cup of chicken broth. Stir in the chopped spinach and cooked chicken and cook until heated through, 4-5 minutes.

Maria's notes:  I made this soup thinking I would just have it for lunch that week.  I came home from a meeting one evening after everyone had eaten.  I decided to heat up a bowl of this soup.  Trey wanted to taste it.  I was so surprised because he asked for his own bowl.  He LOVED it.  He asked what was in it and when I told him he said, "I don't like zucchini or spinach--except for in this soup!"

Monday, October 14, 2013

Basic Sweet Dough

I use this recipe when I make rolls.  It is from a little recipe book that came with my KitchenAid Mixer.

3/4 C milk
1/2 C sugar
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 C butter or margarine
2 packages active dry yeast (4 1/2 tsp)
1/3 C warm water
3 eggs, room temperature
5/1/2 - 6 1/2 C flour

Place milk, sugar, salt, and butter in small saucepan.  Heat over low heat until butter melts and sugar dissolves.  Cool to lukewarm.

Dissolve yeast in warm water in warmed mixer bowl.  Add lukewarm milk mixture, eggs, and 5 cups flour.  Attach bowl and spiral dough hook to mixer.  Turn to speed 2 and mix about 2 minutes.

Continuing on speed 2, add remaining flour, 1/2 C at a time, and mix about 1 1/2 minutes, or until dough starts to clean sides of bowl.  Knead on speed 2 about 2 minutes longer.

Place dough in greased bowl, turning to grease top.  Cover.  Let rise in warm place, free from draft, about 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk.  

Punch dough down and shape as desired for rolls or coffee cakes.  

I then let my rolls rise for another hour.  I bake my rolls at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Celery Casserole

1/3 cup almonds, slivered
4 1/2 cups celery, in 1/8" slices
1 T butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
1 can (10 oz) cream of chicken soup
1 cup canned mushrooms, sliced
1 can (6 oz) water chestnuts, sliced
1 can (2 oz) pimento
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 T butter, in pieces

Toss almonds and melted butter.  Bake at 350 just until golden.  Set aside.

Simmer celery in salt water for 6 minutes (until crispy tender).  Drain.  Put in buttered 2 quart casserole dish.

Combine soup concentrate, mushrooms, water chestnuts, and pimento.  Pour over celery.

Sprinkle with bread crumbs and almonds.  Dot with butter.

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes (until bubbling and brown).