Monday, June 28, 2010

S'mores Scones

I have been on a s'mores kick lately. Okay, maybe it's not a kick as much as a love for this flavor combo. I mean, where can you go wrong with chocolate and marchmallow melted together between two pieces of graham cracker? That's right. You can't go wrong. It's delicious. So on one of my hunts for s'mores related recipes, I came across this one at Baked Perfection. It looked simple enough compared to other scone recipes. There aren't any eggs. No serious method. Just combine all of the dry stuff and mix in the cream and ta-da! Scone dough.
When I was planning my tea party, I knew I had to have these. It was one of the first recipes I decided on making. What a better way to try a new recipe than when friends are coming over? They'll tell you their honest impressions of it.
And the recipe was great. Everyone liked it, especially my hubby (who wasn't at the tea party, don't worry). The crushed graham crackers gave the scones a delightful texture as well as added flavor. I can't think of a better way to incorporate graham crackers into this recipe!
I changed up the recipe from Baked Perfection just a bit to make it easier for myself. Check it out!

S'mores Scones (makes about 15)
1 1/4 c. flour
1 1/4 c. finely crushed graham cracker crumbs
3 tbl. sugar
1 tbl. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. chocolate chips
3/4 c. mini marshmallows
1 1/4 c. heavy cream
1/4 c. chocolate chips, melted (optional)
powdered sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 400F and grease a cookie sheet.
Mix together the first seven ingredients in a bowl. Pour in the heavy cream and mix it together JUST until combined.  Using your hands, roll the dough into 1 1/2-2 inch balls and place on cookie sheet. The dough will be sticky, so you can flour your hands if you like.
Bake for 9-11 minutes. The scones will be beginning to brown. Remove from cookie sheet and cool on a baking rack. Once cool, drizzle with chocolate and sprinkle powdered sugar over top to make it look nice. You can see that I didn't do that. I ran out of time.

I linked my recipe up with:

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Lemon Curd and a Tea Party

This past Monday afternoon I had a small get together with three of my friends at my house. The idea was to have a light lunch, delicious desserts and refreshing beverages with a few great people.

Having never planned a tea party or ladies lunch or what-have-you before, I started thinking about the tea party that my mom-in-law threw for me and how much fun it was. I also befriended Google as a trusted source for information.

(shortbread cookies)
I never really did come up with a theme for the party until the morning of when I decided to go simple and summery (is that a word?).

(S'mores Scones)
Working with what was around the house, I used a nice cream colored tablecloth along with simple white plates and green jacquard napkins. I found cute magnets at Michael's that doubled both as place markers and favors.

Having just come back from the hubby's parents place, there are a bunch of lemons in the house. I think they dress up the table nicely.

(Chicken Salad Sanwiches and Spinach Vegetable Soup)
Now onto the food! The four of us had chicken salad sandwiches and Spinach Vegetable Soup for lunch. There was strawberry lemonade and peach iced tea as beverages. And dessert included peanut butter cookies, s'mores scones, and shortbread cookies with lemon curd.

My friend over at delightful country cookin' was at the party and brought her Spinach Vegetable Soup. It was delicious! I think it totally blew my sandwiches out of the water! Go by there and check out her post on the party!
The S'mores Scones and Strawberry Lemonade will be making their appearances on here shortly. I feel that each of them deserves their own post. Partially because I love to organize things into their own little places.

I found this recipe while looking for tea party ideas. Lemon curd is just one of those things you think of when you think "tea party". The only problem is that I really don't like only using egg yolks. Especially when a recipe calls for 6 of them. I mean, I can realistically only make so many meringue cookies. The beauty of the recipe I found at Joy of Baking is that it uses the whole egg. It's great. Kristin even noted that it's a bit lighter than normal lemon curd. But if it's not light enough for ya, then you can fold in some whipped cream and there you go!
Oh, lemon curd. What can't you do with the stuff? It was wonderful on my shortbread cookies. It would be great spread on some scones. I'm even thinking about making a yellow cake and having this be the filling. YUM!
Here is the original recipe for the lemon curd. The only think I did different was leave out the lemon zest because I'm not crazy about the idea of finding lemon zest in my teeth throughout the day. But that's just me. Anywho- here we go!

Lemon Curd (makes about 1 1/2 cups)
(adapted from

3 eggs
1/3 c. fresh lemon juice (use the real deal stuff here!)
3/4 c. granulated sugar
4 tbl. unsalted butter, cut into 4 to 6 pieces

Whisk together the first 3 ingredients in a stainless steel bowl set over a pot of just simmering (not boiling) water. Whisk it constantly until the mixture thickens up to the consistency of sour cream (this should be 160degrees F). This takes about 10 minutes, but don't worry, your patience will be rewarded.
Once it has thickened up, take it off the heat and pour through a strainer to get out any possible egg lumps. Or, if you're like me and don't have a fine mesh strainer just continue with the recipe! Whisk in the butter one piece at a time, waiting until the previous piece is completely melted and incorporated before adding more. Once done you should immediately cover the lemon curd with a piece of plastic wrap and allow to cool. Don't worry, you can place the plastic right on the curd. Once cooled, you can serve as is, or chill and serve later. Enjoy!!

I have linked up my awesome party to these awesome parties!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Cream of Broccoli Soup

This broccoli soup was so much better than I had hoped for. It's one of those recipes that looking at the ingredients you just know it will be good. But I had no idea it would be this good.
It all started with a bag of broccoli. Hubby and I don't usually buy bags of the stuff this huge but it was super cheap and already prebagged at a local produce place we frequent. One of the rabbits LOVES broccoli, but he doesn't get it fast enough to use the whole bag up in time so I began my quest to find a recipe that uses a lot of broccoli.
I searched "broccoli" at Tasty Kitchen and found lots of soups and salads, but this soup really stood out with it's simplicity (and lack of cream!). We tried the recipe last night and loved it! It was VERY easy to put together and tastes great on it's own, or with sour cream on top. I hear that the cheese was good on top too.

Rebecca of Foodie With Family has this recipe in one of her posts. It's great- she even has a super easy recipe for crème fraîche! This soup makes a great side dish or first course to dinner. Enjoy it on its own or topped with whatever makes you all happy inside. Next time I might try some crumbled bacon on top! Yum!

Cream of Broccoli Soup serves 6
(recipe from Foodie with Family)

1 tbl. butter
1 small onion, diced
4 c. fresh or frozen broccoli, cut up (stems and florets, please!)
1 medium russet potato, peeled and 1/2 inch dice
4 c. broth or water (I used 1 can of chicken broth and filled the rest of the way with water)
salt and pepper
sour cream, cheese, crumbled bacon (optional)

Melt the butter in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the onions and let them sweat until they are tender. Make sure to stir from time to time and even turn down the heat if you have to to make sure they don't brown.
Add in the broccoli, potato and liquid. Raise the heat to medium high and bring the soup to a simmer. Partially cover the pot and simmer for 25 minutes- turning down the heat a tad if it starts to boil.
Remove from the heat after 25 minutes or when the veggies are tender. Let cool for 10 minutes, then puree the the soup in a blender or with an immersion blender. Add salt and pepper to your liking (I stuck with pepper only and it was wonderful!)
Garnish the dish with whatever tickles your fancy and enjoy!!!

I linked this recipe up at:

Monday, June 14, 2010

Chicken Marsala

Over the weekend I decided to make Chicken Marsala. I've had it before, but have never tried making it. Hubby was all for it, so I began looking at different recipes from the internet, my cookbooks, and even the Marsala bottle. The main ingredients for all were Marsala, chicken broth and chicken that is dredged in flour. Most also had sliced mushrooms. Yum. With so little ingredients, the recipe could be wonderful or a total flop.
Well, I am very happy to say that the recipe I put together was wonderful! The chicken was super tasty and sweet! We ate ours over pasta because that lovely sauce cannot be put to waste. Very good.
This dish is definitely best the first day. Right after it's made, it's wonderful. The next day it's good- but not as good unfortunately.

Chicken Marsala serves 4
recipe by Stacia

2 chicken breasts, halved lengthwise
salt & pepper
1/4 c. flour for dredging
olive oil
8 oz mushrooms, sliced (whatever kind you like- I used button mushrooms)
2 tbl. unsalted butter
1 c. low sodium chicken broth
1 c. sweet Marsala

Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper and then dredge in the flour. Let them sit while a skillet with enough olive oil to coat the bottom warms up over medium heat.
Cook the chicken, a couple pieces at a time as to not crowd the pan and lower the heat dramatically. This should take about 3-5 minutes per side depending on how thick the pieces are and how hot your burner gets. Go ahread and check the thickest part of each when you think it's done- I almost ALWAYS do that.
Once the chicken is done cooking, add the butter and mushrooms to the pan and lower the heat a little. Cook the mushrooms down until they begin to soften up. If you lose moisture in the pan to cook the mushrooms, add a little of the broth instead of adding more butter or oil.
At this point, I sprinkled a couple tablespoons of the leftover flour over my mushrooms as to thicken up the sauce more in the end, but that is completely optional. If you do add some flour, stir it around to make sure it doesn't just clump to a few mushrooms.
Add the Marsala and the broth, keeping the heat on medium low. Stir everything around and make sure to get all of the good browned bits on the bottom from the chicken.
All that's left is to cook down the broth and mushrooms for a couple minutes, then add the chicken back in while the sauce finishes up. Cook until the sauce reduces by about half and thickens up a little. Enjoy!

I have linked this recipe up at:

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Strawberry Sorbet

Last weekend the hubby and I bought some strawberries at a local produce place. The container had 6 very full pints of the ripe berries and boy were they tasty! After making trifles with some of the strawberries, I wasn't sure what to make with the rest. We really didn't want them to go bad, and that would be fast approaching with how ripe they already were.
Hubby suggested strawberry ice cream. So we looked in the manual that came with our ice cream maker for a recipe and ended up looking at the sorbet because it didn't need any heavy cream (something that we didn't have). The recipe in the manual, however had both sugar AND corn syrup. I knew there had to be a better way. So I searched the internet to find a better sounding recipe, and at I found a simple and tasty looking recipe. After a couple small changes, the deed was done and we have a very lovely, tasty and refreshing strawberry sorbet!

Strawberry Sorbet
(adapted from Joy of Baking)

2/3 c. water
2/3 c. sugar
5 c. strawberries, hulled and the big ones halved
1 tbl. lemon juice

In a small saucepan, heat up the water and sugar over medium low heat. Stirring until the sugar dissolves. Turn off the heat and let come to room temperature. This makes a simple syrup that we will use to sweeten up the sorbet with.
Puree the berries in a blender or with an immersion blender. At this point you can strain out the seeds if you like, but I left mine in. Add the lemon juice and mix together.
Once the simple syrup has cooled off to the point it isn't hot anymore, mix it in with the pureed berries and refrigerate until the liquid has become refrigerator temperature.
Now, following the directions of your ice cream maker, pour in the strawberry goodness. My sorbet was done in 25 minutes. At this point it will be the consistency of soft serve. Eat it now, or put in a freezer save container and freeze until ready to serve. Enjoy!

This tasty recipe is linked up at:

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Easy Caramelized Onions

The first time I had these onions was when my at-the-time-boyfriend-now-husband made carne asada for me. Mmmm mmm good! Now we make them to top hot dogs, brats and burgers. I think they would be great on a grilled pizza or even as a side dish- I know I've eaten them without anything but a fork!
This recipe is super duper easy with the ingredients being things that lots of people have on hand. They take a little bit of time- but it is well worth it!
Since this recipe is pretty much a canvas, it can be added to with the addition of spices or other liquids. Oh the possibilities!!
I do use beer to caramelize the onions. The beer cooks WAY down and the sugars in it get all yummy. But if you prefer not to use the stuff, you can probably sub in some chicken broth and about 1 tbl. or so of brown sugar.
How much of the beer you use is also up to you. You can use just half of one on a single onion, or use the whole bottle of you have enough time to really cook it down. You can also get 3 or 4 onions into just one bottle's worth of liquid.

Easy Caramelized Onions

1 onion (per every 2-3 people), sliced into half rings
6oz-12oz beer (whatever you have on hand should work- but try to stick with pale ales and lagers- I like Bass for this)
1 tsp. lemon juice (optional)
fresh ground black pepper (optional)
other spices like cumin (optional)

Put your onion slices into a saute pan- more onions = bigger pan. Pour the beer over the onions and add whatever spices you like to it.
That's right! We don't need any oil or butter for this!
Turn your heat up to low/ med-low and gently simmer the onions until the beer reduces down to a syrupy consistency and eventually isn't apparent at all. Make sure to stir occassionally at first and then more as the liquid evaporates to make sure the onions don't stick and burn.
Serve over hot dogs, burgers, pizza, carne asada- or just eat it on the side!

My recipe is linked up at:

Friday, June 4, 2010

Sugar Donut Muffins

In honor of National Doughnut Day (today), I thought I would post about a super tasty and super easy recipe I found over at Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice.
I stumbled upon the recipe for Sugar Donut Muffins one day and saved it to my computer for later use. Later use happened two days ago and boy was it good. I followed the recipe, only changing that I made all of the batter into mini muffins, which is noted in the recipe as being a great way to ensure that whatever you coat them in will be in every bite. Plus, they are so cute in mini form! I also didn't dip them in melted butter before adding the sugar as I was in a hurry. They came out just fine without the butter.
I coated all of mine in cinnamon sugar. But powdered sugar, or even a nice glaze (make that chocolate glaze!) would be great also!

Sugar Donut Muffins
(from Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice)

3/4 c. sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg (I left this out so I could have more freedom later with flavorings)
1/4 c. vegetable oil
3/4 c. milk (low fat is just fine!)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbl. butter, melted
1/2 c. sugar (plus 1 tbl. cinnamon if you want cinnamon sugar)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a muffin tin or a mini muffin tin with vegetable spray.
In a large bowl, beat together the sugar and the egg until light in color. It won't take long at all.
In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Mix it all together.
Add the flour mixture to the egg and sugar blend along with the oil, milk and vanilla extract. mix everything together and divide evenly among the muffin cups, filling each of them 3/4 full. (Should make about 10 normal muffins or 32 mini muffins)
Bake 15-18 minutes for normal muffins or 13-15 minutes for mini muffins. Test doneness with a toothpick.
After the muffins come out, brush them with butter and roll in sugar.

This recipe is linked up at:

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls

Yesterday was Memorial Day, and the end of Memorial Day weekend. The hubby wanted to take advantage of the long weekend and do a lot of grilling. On Sunday we decided to have hot dogs, potato salad and homemade dinner rolls.
After finding this super easy whole wheat dinner rolls at Finding Joy in My Kitchen, I knew that I could have them ready super fast and that I could even form some of the rolls into hot dog buns!
Plus, they are whole wheat and don't have a ton of sugar. Where could you go wrong? I don't know.
I didn't have enough whole wheat flour for the whole thing, so I ended up using 1 c. whole wheat and 2 c. all purpose. They were quite tasty none-the-less!

Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls (from Finding Joy in My Kitchen)

1 1/2 tbl. active dry yeast
1 c. + 1 tbl. warm water
1/3 c. oil
1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. salt
3 c. flour (any combo of whole wheat and all purpose you like. Or all of one or the other)

In a mixer bowl, dissolve the yeast in the water. Allow to sit and bubble up for 3-5 minutes. Then add in the oil, sugar and salt. Mix it together a little bit.
Next, add in the flour (I already had a dough hook on my mixer at this point), one cup at a time until all is added.
Knead by hand or with the dough hook for 3-5 minutes until a nice, easy to work with dough has formed. You may need to add a bit more flour to make the dough nice and easy to work with.
Divide the dough into 9-12 sections and roll into balls or form into logs for hot dog buns. 12 makes smaller rolls, and 9 makes larger ones. I was able to make 4 hot dog buns with half and 6 dinner rolls with the other half. Very tasty.
Put your formed dough pieces onto a greased cookie sheet. Cover and let rise in a warm place for about 20 minutes. Then bake in a 425 degree oven for 8-10 minutes until they are golden on top. Be careful not to overcook them!!

I have linked up these rolls at:

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