Monday, March 31, 2008

My Favorites: Brownie Mix

Matt has "The Essentials," so I thought I would start my own recurring topic called "My Favorites" where I can talk about my favorite ingredients, techniques, kitchen items, cookbooks, etc. One thing that I always have on hand is brownie mixes. I am always making treats for friends, neighbors, family, work, church gatherings, games nights, etc. Sometimes I just don't feel like spending a lot of time baking, so I like to have brownie mixes on hand. There are a million way to dress them up and make them taste extra good, or they are just great on their own too. I like to have a box of plain (chocolate fudge) brownies on hand, and I always have a box of my favorite Chocolate Chunk brownies from Pillsbury. They're pretty much heaven in a box. I recommend picking one up so you can try them out! Watch out, though. They are ridiculously addicting.

Here is my favorite variation from a basic brownies mix to make it extra delicious.

Raspberry Chocolate Chunk Brownies:
Prepare brownie mix according to directions on the back of the box. Fold in 1 cup frozen raspberries and 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks or chocolate chips to the batter. Bake according to directions on the box.

Note: When you bake them, make sure you add the eggs. One time I forgot and the brownies boiled in the oil in the oven. Pretty disgusting.


1 cup all-purpose flour

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup water

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 Tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

Place ingredients in blender container in the order given. Blend 30 seconds, stop and stir down sides. Blend 30-60 seconds until smooth. Or, mix in bowl with wire whisk or mixer, first combining flour and eggs, adding liquid gradually. Beat until smooth; add other ingredients.

This is just the recipe for the batter, how you cook them is up to you. We like to use a crepe maker (Maxim Electric Crepe Maker). It makes things easy, and less messy, with a 30 second no-stick cook and release. Just pour the batter into a shallow pie pan and dip the crepe maker. I usually double the recipe, just to be sure that everyone gets their fill of crepes.

There are many different variations of crepes. Breakfast burrito crepes are one of my favorite. (Thanks to Aubrie and Corey)Scrambled eggs, crispy bacon, fried potatoes, and hot sauce. Berries with cream, bananas with Nutella and cream is also a treat. Butter and sugar make a delicious simple topping. Be creative, but be sure to share your favorite variation!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Sticky Buns

These are a classic Bezzant breakfast food. We used to eat them all the time when we were kids. When I moved out and went to college I would make them for my roommates. Now that I'm married I make them for Corey. They're really easy to make and taste fantastic. If you don't have the Bezzant sweet tooth, consider yourself warned as they can be really rich and sweet if you eat too many of them.

Sticky Buns

3 Tb. butter or margarine
1/3 C. brown sugar
1 Tb. water
1 tsp. cinnamon

Microwave in a large bowl or round casserole dish for 1 minute.
Add 1 container refrigerated biscuits (10), cut into thirds or quarters. Stir the biscuit pieces into the sauce. Spread apart and put a small glass bowl or glass in the middle (so that they heat evenly and there are not any in the middle that don't get cooked all the way through). If you want, add 1/4 cup chopped pecans. Microwave on high for 2 1/2 - 3 minutes. Let cool slightly & serve. You can either dish them up individually into plates/bowls, invert onto a plate, or just eat it straight out of the bowl (that's what we usually do now...why dirty another dish?)
Serves 2-4

Joe Morley's Bar-B-Q

If you like barbecue at all then Joe Morley's is somewhere that you'd love. It doesn't look like much. Sort of a hole in the wall place, that's decorated very, very simply. They let their food do all of the talking. And boy can it talk.

Joe Morley's specialty is smoked beef. It can either beef served on a platter or as a sandwich. I usually opt for the sandwich, but both of them are excellent. They come with steamed onions and Joe's special barbecue sauce on the side. It's ridiculously good sauce. We keep a bottle of it in the fridge at home. It gets used up awfully fast. Some other highlights on the menu are the ribs, chopped pork and the polish sausage. The killer keilbasa appetizer is freaking fantastic. All platter come with a choice of two sides, I recommend the baked beans, cole slaw and fries.

I give this place my highest recommendation. There is no better barbecue in the state as far as I'm concerned. So if you're ever in Midvale, check it out.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Essentials: Tapatío

I know that Aubrie keeps calling this a recipe blog, but I like to see it as more of a general food blog. That's probably partly because I'm not so big on writing recipes down. I just wing it. But here's a feature that I'm going to introduce, I'm calling it The Essentials. It's basically the things having to do with food and cooking that I think are absolutely essential.


I'm very big into hot sauce. I put it on everything. And really I mean everything (try it on pancakes sometime). Generally I keep somewhere between 3-6 kinds in the fridge (4 at the moment). These range from from mango flavor to one that includes lime juice. Mexican style, Chinese, Indian, all different kinds. But by far my favorite is Tapatío. It's a Mexican style hot sauce that has one important difference from many others. It's not vinegar based. That's why it's my favorite. The lack of vinegar taste makes it possible to put large quantities on or in food without overwhelming the flavor with vinegar. I highly recommend it. If you only have one kind of hot sauce, it should be Tapatío.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Swedish Almond Tea Cake

I have been craving these for over a year and I finally got the recipe last week. I made them for a family party and they were a hit! They are kind of a like a blondie (a brownie, but not chocolate). They're delicious, I hope you enjoy them!

Swedish Almond Tea Cake (Nancy West's recipe)

1 C minus 1 Tbsp sugar
1 C minus 1 Tbsp flour
1/2 C butter (1 cube) melted
1 Tbsp almond extract (half this if you want it to be less almond-y)
2 eggs (beaten)

Mix ingredients in bowl. Pour into a 9" glass pie plate spray with pam. Sprinkle with slivered almonds and/or coconut if desired. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

To double the recipe, bake in a 9 x 13 cake pan.
To triple the recipe, bake in a jelly roll pan.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Chicken Pot Pie

Pot pie is not my thing. I don't know why, maybe because of those nasty single-serving frozen pot-pies that you see in the store all the time. Mushy peas. Thick gravy. Fatty chicken. Soggy crust. Ugh. So it's very surprising that I wanted to try this recipe. But I saw it and couldn't stop thinking about it so I made it for dinner. Amazingly enough, I loved it. And by loved it I mean it's one of my new favorite recipes and I want to eat it every week for the rest of my life.

Chicken Pot Pie
adapted from Domestication in Progress

1 box refrigerated pie crusts (should have 2 "ready to roll" pie crusts inside)
3 chicken breasts
5 red potatoes
3 cans Cream of Chicken soup
1 bag frozen peas and carrots - thawed
1 sweet onion - diced
1/4 cup butter
1 egg

**This makes one 10" pie (very full) or two 8" pies (not as full). If you choose to make two smaller pies you can either buy 2 boxes of refrigerated pie crusts or just do a top crust and omit the bottom crust.

1. Heat oven to 450
2. Heat two large pots of water - these are for the chicken and potatoes
3. Trim fat from chicken and dice the potatoes, then add (separately) to the two pot of boiling water.
4. If making a two crust pie, cook bottom crust in oven for 9 minutes (this is so the bottom crust won't get soggy when you add the filling). After cooking, turn the oven down to 400 to cook the pie.
5. Saute the onion in butter until it is translucent and tender.
6. When the chicken is done shred or dice it into bite size pieces
7. The potatoes are done when they break apart by being stabbed with a fork - strain them.
8. Combine the shredded chicken, potatoes, peas and carrots, onions and the cans of Cream of Chicken soup in a large bowl
9. Pour the glorious mixture into the already-cooked pie crust
10. Now add the top crust and trim to fit the pie plate.
11. Whisk the egg in a small bowl and baste over the top crust*the egg is strictly for cosmetic purposes, it helps the pie keep it's color and provides a shine when cooked.
12. Make 4 slits in the top of the pie with a knife to provide steam release while the pie is baking.
13. Bake for 40 minutes and then let the pie cool for a few minutes on top of the stove.
14. Serve!

Yummy Yummy In My Tummy...

I decided that we need to start a family recipe blog. We all love food. Most of us love to cook. And we're really good at it (yes, both the cooking and the eating). So I figured that this would be a good way for us to share our favorite recipes! Pictures are always a plus, too, but I'll have to get a new camera before I can post very many pictures (my camera makes food not look too appetizing). If anyone else wants to join, we can add them to the blog too. Please feel free to post some recipes!
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