December 13, 2016

Perfect Biscuits

I love bread. That is all. Here is an easy yummy biscuit recipe. The blog gave me a tip that I followed and it worked perfectly! That picture is of MY biscuits!!!
"The secret to excellent biscuits is COLD BUTTER. Really cold. Many times the biscuit dough gets worked so much that the butter softens before the biscuits even go in the oven. Try cutting the butter into small pieces and stick back in the fridge pulling out only when ready to incorporate into the dough."

3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tbsp sugar
½ tsp salt
4 tsp baking powder
½ tsp cream of tartar
¾ cup COLD butter
1 egg
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Combine the dry ingredients and use a pastry cutter to cut the butter in. Don't go too crazy here - you want to see small, pea-sized pieces of butter throughout the dough. i had some big chunks and was worried, but it made them flakier!
Add in the milk and egg and mix just until the ingredients are combined. The dough will be sticky but don't keep working it. You should be able to see the butter pieces in the dough.
Turn the dough out onto a generously floured surface. Sprinkle some flour on to the top of dough so it won't stick to your fingers and knead 10-15 times. If the dough is super sticky just sprinkle some additional flour.
Roll or pat the dough out to ¾ - 1 inch thickness and cut with a biscuit cutter or glass or jar lid . s. Place the biscuits on a lightly greased baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.
Makes 10-12 biscuits (I got 16, so size kinda matters here).

Microwave Score: N/A
Freezer Score: N/A
Jake Score: 5 Said they were great!
Overall Score: 5...because that is how many I ate with dinner and honey butter last night.

September 29, 2016

Chicken Pockets

Alright, I promised months ago I would put this on the blog but I had a minor freak out. This was posted on one of my old, no longer existing blogs and I didn't think I had the recipe anywhere. Luckily younger me was smart and wrote it down and placed it in a safe place in my recipe book. I found it and a HUGE wave of relief came over me. It is one of my favorite recipes and was one of my first original recipes. I think I can say this recipe gave me the confidence in my baking/cooking knowledge/abilities. I never used to create or cook without a recipe.I tried a variation of this at a friend’s dinner party. It was really good but I had this recipe for a yummy hot lemony chicken salad that I thought of frequently. So I decided to take the two and combine them into the wonderful deliciousness I have today. I eat this with rice or quinoa or potatoes or some other veggie as a side. Of course you don’t need to have those you can just eat them by themselves. Now this is sort of a base recipe. You can add more of somethings if you want or less of others. Honestly it depends on my mood on how much celery I add, or if I want more of a kick.
2 Pillsbury SEAMLESS crescent roll containers (can be done with regular crescent roll dough but that includes another step. You will need to put the seams together for this. or you can try to make it work with the crescent shapes.)
2 cups shredded chicken
4-6 oz cream cheese (you choose how creamy you want it)
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 stalk celery, chopped
2 TB onion, chopped
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 TB parsley
1/8 tsp chili powder
2 TB milk
4 TB butter, melted
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 TB almonds, slivered (optional)

Preheat oven to 350.
Unroll dough and cut each sheet into 8 squares.
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and scoop about 2 tablespoons into center of squares. Then bring together corners and make them into a cushion. Place cushion on pan, seem side down to help them stay in place. Bake for 20 mins.

Microwave Score: 4 dough can get a little doughier. I prefer to eat them freshly baked or heated in a toaster oven.
Freezer Score: haven't frozen it. but if I did I might actually freeze them raw.
Jake Score: 4.5 thinks they are great. He even asks for them, which is a big deal for something other than Mexican food.
Overall Score: 4 I really like them and they are easy to make but they really are best when fresh.

September 7, 2016

Peach Pound Cake

We had peaches that we getting soft and I wasn't prepared for canning yet so I found this yummy recipe to try. The family all loved it, and my coworker referred to it as peach ambrosia bread, which I agree with, so I might change the name in my recipe.

1 cup real butter, softened (2 sticks)
2 cups granulated sugar
6 large eggs
1/2 tsp. almond extract (or more vanilla if you do not care for almond)
2 tsp. vanilla
3 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup sour cream
3 cups diced fresh or frozen peaches (approx. 6-8 fresh peaches), peeled, pit removed and diced
3-4 Tbl. butter, softened
¼ cup granulated sugar
Powdered sugar for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Take your 9"-10" nonstick Bundt pan and cover the pan really well with the 3-4 Tablespoons butter making sure to cover all the crevices and areas really well. Dust with the ¼ cup of granulated sugar, rotating the pan to coat well.
In a large bowl, cream the softened butter and the sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time. Beat in the almond and vanilla extracts.
In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking soda and salt and mix. Add this dry mixture to batter alternately with sour cream; beating well after each addition. Fold in the cut up peaches. Be very careful not to break them up, but to leave them in chunks. Pour the peach batter into the prepared bundt pan.
Bake for 60-70 minutes, or until the toothpick comes out almost clean. It's important to cool the cake for 15 minutes before removing from the pan to a serving plate. When the cake is completely cooled, you can dust it with powdered sugar.
Fresh Peach Pound Cake
Microwave Score: Not needed!
Freezer Score: haven't frozen it, but you probably could. and it will probably still taste good later on, especially if you freeze it in loaves.
Family Score: 4.5 "delicious"
Overall Score: 4.5 yummy treat that isn't overly sweet.

July 13, 2016

Twix Cheesecake

I made this for my mother-in-law's birthday last week and it was a HUGE hit! Though we cut it into 8 servings and found that it is a little too rich for 1/8th slice. Some of us still managed to eat it all anyway...
This recipe is based off the link below, but I made it a little different. I have learned not to just make what other recipes say, but to go off my bakering knowledge (it's a word) and go with things I know and love. I used the cheesecake recipe from this link but the rest were researched and created by me. I forgot to snag a photo, so I used the one from the link. My recipe is different but this will give you a good idea of the look when finished.

1 1/2 cups fine vanilla wafer crumbs, about 30 to 35 cookies
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
5 tablespoons butter, melted

12 oz cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp sour cream
½ cup of white granulated sugar
1 Tbsp corn starch

1 bag (11 oz.) caramels, unwrapped
1/2-2/3 c whipping cream (choose how soft you want it to be)

1 c chocolate chips
2/3 c whipping cream

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a pie dish or spring form pan (9 inch)
Mix crust ingredients and put into spring form pan (or pie dish)
Beat cream cheese and sour cream in a bowl of an electric mixer, on medium-high speed, until smooth and fluffy, for a couple of minutes. Scrape sides and bottom of the bowl and beat for another minute.
Add sugar and corn starch and mix thoroughly.
Pour cheesecake batter into the prepared cookie base. Spread it out gently and evenly.
Bake for 20-25 minutes (for a standard 8-9 inch pie dish).
Take it out of the oven and let it cool completely.
Mix caramels and whipping cream in double boiler until melted, and pour over the cheesecake.
If your caramel is a little runny you might want to refrigerate the cheesecake for a few hours before moving on to the next step.
Melt chocolate chips and whipping in microwave safe bowl for 1-2 mins. Melt for 1 min stir, and melt 30 sec increments after that. Pour on top of caramel, and spread evenly.
Refrigerate until serving.

Microwave Score: NA dessert...doesn't qualify
Freezer Score: haven't frozen it, but you probably could.
Family Score: 5 "so good" "needs milk"
Overall Score: 4.5 maybe a little too rich to have all the time, but still so good.

June 7, 2016

Beef Stroganoff

I LOVE beef stroganoff. There is something about the salty beef sauce mixed with wonderfully delicious sour cream that gets my taste buds all excited. It is one thing I ask my mom to make when I am home. Well the one savory thing I ask for. ;) This is a recipe that is based off a few different recipes. It is a crock pot recipe, but you can brown the beef in a pan with some oil, add everything, and let it simmer until blended. That is how my mom would make it. Of course she didn't add mushrooms because we don't like mushrooms*, but hubby does so that's a sacrifice I have decided to make.

2 lbs cubed/sliced beef roast
Salt and pepper
1 can cream of mushroom soup* or 2 cups sliced mushrooms
2 beef gravy packets (or beef bouillon cubes dissolved in water)
1 1/2 cups water
1 diced onion
2 Tb Worcestershire sauce (opt.)
1 1/2 c sour cream

Place gravy packets and water into pot and mix well. Add beef, onion, mushrooms, Worcestershire sauce and mix. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook on low for 8 hours. Add sour cream and serve over rice or egg noodles (or potatoes if you are from Idaho). Enjoy!

This is from the next day at work, which is why the lighting is gross.

*Cover beef cubes/slices with flour in a bag with salt and pepper and add 2 cans of beef broth/consumme instead of gravy/bouillon and water. The flour is to help thicken the sauce. I will do either/or depending on what I have in my cupboard. I think they are pretty interchangeable but my mom thinks consumme is the only way to go.
*Cream of mushroom obviously will make this creamier. If/when I do a double batch I will probably do both i think that will be the perfect balance of mushroom and cream.
*If you don't like mushrooms, my family substituted cream of celery and that worked too. My mom doesn't add in the cream of whatever anymore, but I like the extra creaminess.

Microwave Score: 4.5 microwaves well, but the sauce is thicker when you microwave it.
Freezer Score: haven't frozen it, not sure I would want to just cause the sauce might separate or something.
Jake Score: 4 He really likes it. "Would eat it again."
Overall Score: 5.0 I'm biased. and Jake knows when I make stroganoff, I must have leftovers or there will be consequences, so he's good at sharing.

May 4, 2016

Cream Cheese Apple Bread

So we were going to be out of town for 10 days and we had all of these Fuji apples leftover (we have been buying them from Costco). They are a softer apple than I thought so I don't really like to munch on them like I do pink lady or honey crisp. I decided we had to do something with them so we aren't wasting them. So I went to Pinterest. I decided to try this bread out because it had cream cheese and us here at Food Friend-zy LOVE cream cheese. I made the bread and we ate the loaf in 2 days. As we were finishing the last few slices Jake said, "I think you need to make that again..." So I did! This time I made mini loaves and froze a few of them.

For the Bread
2 Apples
½ cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1⅓ cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1½ tsp pumpkin spice seasoning (or cinnamon & nutmeg)
Cream Cheese topping
6oz. cream cheese (room temp)
¼ cup sugar
1 egg

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Chop your apples into small pieces or grate. I peeled my apples, but you can use the peel if wanted. (I have an apple slinky maker thing and that made it go by fast!) Place into a large mixing bowl. Add oil, cup of sugar, eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Gently fold in flour, baking soda, salt and spices until wet. Pour into prepared loaf pan.
Combine cream cheese, sugar and egg either with a fork or mixer. Pour over the top of the batter. Using a fork or knife, gently swirl the two layers together.
Bake for 30 min with a loosely covered tin foil tent. Remove foil and continue to bake an additional 15-20 min until a toothpick inserted into bread comes out clean. (Mine was about another 30 mins) Allow to cool before slicing.

Freezer Score: Keep you posted!
Jake Score: 4.5 Like i said above he asked for it again!
Overall Score: 5-I rarely make a recipe back to back. When I have in the past, the second time around isn't as fun and exciting, but this was! So yummy and simple. This will definitely be a reoccurring recipe. Make sure to not fill the pan more than 2/3 full cause it will over flow! The bread rises quite a bit. I found that swirling the cream cheese through out not just at the top helps it to not brown too much and I personally like the cream cheese flavor through out.

April 12, 2016

Chicken Gyros

I don't know when exactly this happened but I discovered a love for Chicken gyros, and I found a delicious crock pot recipe for them. I prefer to cook these types of chicken recipes in the crock pot because the chicken just falls apart and shreds so easily.
When it comes to tzatziki sauce it’s pretty simple to make and I haven’t tried the recipe included. I use this one, but only because I like the lemony taste.

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 onion, diced
¼ cup water
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon oregano
¼ teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon lemon pepper

Spray slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray.
Place chicken breasts inside slow cooker.
Mix remaining ingredients together in a bowl and pour over chicken breasts.
Cook on HIGH for 3-4 hours or LOW 6-8 hours.
Shred chicken and serve with pocketless pita bread, sliced tomatoes, sliced onions, sliced cucumbers, lettuce, feta cheese and Tzatziki sauce.

Microwave Score: 4.5 no issues here but I think it tastes just as good cold.
Freezer Score: haven’t tried to freeze it yet
Jake Score: 4 He isn’t a fan of pita bread usually so through his inspiration we tried it as a salad with the tzatziki sauce as the dressing. YUM!
Overall Score: 4.5 it’s pretty yummy and it’s really easy to make. And it makes a lot! I can have lunch for a week!

March 23, 2016

Easy Crockpot Taco Pasta

This is also a recipe I love and added on pinterest but they changed the recipe and I struggle to find the original! Now, I'm adding it here so I never lose it again!

1 lb ground beef
1 cup beef broth
1 cup Water
1 (1oz) package Taco Seasoning
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/4 cup white onion, diced
1 garlic cloves, minced
1 (8oz) packet of Old El Paso® Chile & Roasted Garlic Cooking Sauce (or favorite taco/enchilada sauce)
4 oz cream cheese, soften and cut into 1 inch pieces
3 cups Medium Sized Shell Noodles, Cooked
2 cups Cheddar Cheese, Shredded
Optional Toppings
Sour cream, salsa or shredded cheese

Cook ground beef over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until beef is thoroughly cooked and drain.
Place cooked beef, beef broth, water, taco seasoning, diced tomatoes, onion, garlic, Old El Paso® Chile & Roasted Garlic Cooking Sauce and cream cheese into a 5-6 quart slow cooker.  Stir until well combined.
Cover; cook on low heat setting 4-5 hours. When about 15 minutes are left, cook and drain pasta as directed on package. Uncover crockpot and stir in pasta and shredded cheese. Stir until well combined. Continue to cook, uncovered for 10-15 more minutes, or until cheese has melted.

Microwave Score: 4.5 the noodles start to get soggy if left too long in the sauce
Freezer Score: 4.5 freezes really well
Jake Score: Haven't made this for him yet
Overall Score: 4.5 the only real issue with this is in the ingredients. That sauce is really hard to find. And I have to find a different one, as such, the flavor is a little different each time.

Herb Crusted Chicken in Basil Cream Sauce

This meal is one of those easy fancy meals that reheats really well. I pull this out when I want to impress someone. It was the first meal I ever made for Jake. Yeah it's not a 15 min meal but you will not regret this at all. amazing flavor and the sauce goes with pretty much everything. actually this recipe turned me onto the main spice mix they use and I ALWAYS have a bottle of it in my pantry now and put it on everything I can.

2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts; pounded thin
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup Progresso Garlic & Herb Bread Crumbs (Italian or plain are fine too)
2 teaspoons 'Perfect Pinch' Roasted Garlic and Bell Pepper Seasoning
1 teaspoon freeze dried chives
3 Tablespoons butter
3 cloves of garlic; minced
1/2 cup Chicken Broth
1/4 can of Italian diced tomatoes; drained and finely chopped
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese blend
2 Tablespoons freeze dried (or fresh) basil
dash of fresh ground black pepper

1.) Place bread crumbs, Roasted Garlic and Bell Pepper Seasoning and freeze dried chives in a shallow bowl; mix thoroughly.
2.) Place milk in a separate shallow bowl.In a skillet, heat butter on medium heat. Meanwhile, pound chicken flat and thin for even cooking (if you haven't done so already).
3.) Dip the chicken in the milk, then coat with crumb mixture.
Cook chicken in butter until browned and cooked through (about ten minutes). Remove and keep warm
4.) In the same skillet, add garlic and saute for approximately 1 minute.
5.) Add chicken broth and bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir occasionally to loosen browned parts from the pan.
6.) Stir in cream and tomatoes; bring to a boil and stir for one minute.
7.) Reduce heat to low; add Parmesan cheese, basil and a dash of pepper, stir sauce and cook until heated through and thickened. (about 5 minutes)
8.) Serve by pouring the sauce over the chicken. For added flair, serve the chicken and sauce over cooked pasta.

Microwave Score: 5.0 microwaved well. And doesn’t separate like some sauces do.
Freezer Score: haven't frozen it yet, but the sauce lasts a while in the fridge and the crumb mixture I will keep in the pantry
Jake Score: 5.0 He really likes this one, we make it with potatoes sometimes.
Overall Score: 5.0 I love this and could eat it everyday! The sauce is so flavorful and creamy and now I want to make it...

March 21, 2016

Easy Steak Sauce

Now that I am a married woman I have had a rekindled love for new recipes. I find that recipes are like clothes, after a while they get a little worn out and sometimes you just want something new to wear. Because of that I have a bunch of new recipes that I would love to share with you all! So this is officially my restart.
For Valentines Day we decided to stay in and make a nice dinner to celebrate. We decided on steak. Jake prefers to have sauces or gravy with his meat, so I set out to find a sauce to go with the steak. I found this recipe online and decided to give it a try. I have to say it was a success! We also have baked red potatoes to go with it and the sauce was great with the potatoes.
3 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil, Divided
1 Medium Onion, Chopped
4 Cloves Garlic, Chopped
1 Fresno Chile or Red Jalapeño, Seeded, Chopped (couldn’t find those so we just used a green jalapeno)
Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste
½ Cup Worcestershire Sauce (or soy sauce if needed)
½ Cup Red Wine Vinegar
¼ Cup (Packed) Dark Brown Sugar
2 Tablespoons Whole Grain Mustard (I just used yellow because we had that on hand. Still good!)
Few Dashes of Hot Sauce
Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, and chile; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until soft, about 5 minutes.
Add tomato paste to saucepan and cook, stirring, until beginning to darken, about 1 minute. Stir in Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, mustard, and hot sauce; simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a blender and purée with ½ cup water until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl, if desired. Set sauce aside. (We didn’t strain it, but we have a really good blender so there weren’t any chunks really)
Steak sauce can be made 1 week ahead. Cover and chill

Microwave Score: 5.0 microwaved well. And didn’t separate like some sauces do.
Freezer Score: It says it would keep for a week in the fridge I don’t see why you can’t freeze it if you want.
Jake Score: 5.0 He mentions it at least once a week…
Overall Score: 5.0 I am not a fan of steak sauce but this had a great sweet and savory flavor, and it really wasn’t spicy despite the spicy ingredients.