Sunday, October 28, 2012

Chocolate Chip Scones

These chocolate chip scones are a family favorite in our house.  I've probably made them 100 times and everyone still gets excited about them!  They are tender, fluffy, sweet, big, and delicious.  They are the perfect breakfast treat with a hot cup of tea.

Chocolate Chip Scones
2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
5 1/2 T cold butter, cubed
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 t sugar - the large decorator-type if available
1 T buttermilk

Stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Add butter and cut with a pastry cutter until mixture resembles coarse meal.  In the center add the beaten egg, buttermilk, and chocolate chips.  Stir mixture together with a fork until flour is incorporated, take care not to over mix.  Use hands to form dough into a ball and place onto a parchment-lined baking tray.  Form into a disc about 1 inch thick.  Use a large knife to cut into 6 wedges and then separate the wedges on the baking sheet to allow room for them to expand while baking.  Brush tops with buttermilk and sprinkle with sugar.  Bake at 400 degrees for 12 minutes or until golden.

Options:  You can make mini scones by separating dough into two discs and cutting each disc into 6 wedges.  You should get 12 mini scones.
Cranberries or currants also make terrific additions instead of chocolate chips.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

This is one of my favorite soup recipes.  I like to leave it chunky but it is perfectly acceptable to blend it up with an immersion blender if you like it that way.  I do find that using a high quality cheese like Cabot or Tillamook is better than Kraft or a store brand cheese.  Lastly, always grate it yourself if you have the time, it really makes a difference.
Broccoli Cheddar Soup

6 T butter
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup flour
6 cups whole milk
4 cups broccoli, cut into florets
1 large carrot, grated
salt and pepper
3 cups grated cheese, mild or sharp cheddar

  • Melt butter in a large heavy pot.  Add onion and sauté until translucent and tender, about 6-8 minutes.  Add garlic and sauté an additional minute.  Whisk in flour and cook 1-2 minutes.  Slowly whisk in the milk and season with salt and pepper.  Add broccoli and carrot and bring to a simmer.  Simmer until thickened and broccoli is tender, about 10-15 minutes.  Remove from heat and add 1 cup of cheese at a time, stirring between each addition.  Taste and season again if necessary.  Note: If soup thickens too much simply add additional milk or chicken stock to thin.

Sunday, October 21, 2012


Sambousek is a Middle Eastern meat pie, but if you google it you will most likely find recipes for smaller appetizer versions with a variety of fillings and methods.  This version is the one that my husband grew up eating and I learned to make by watching his mother when I was dating him.  It is a much larger meal-sized version that is baked rather than fried.  It is delicious and everyone gets excited when I make it at our house.

The meat filling is typically made with minced lamb or beef.  I usually hand cut a pound of chuck roast, but this easier version is made with ground beef which is tasty although not authentic.
3 cups flour
1 cup warm water
1 egg
2 tsp. rapid rise yeast
2 tsp. honey
1/2 tsp. salt
In the bowl of a mixer add warm water, sugar, salt, and yeast.  Allow to sit for 2-3 minutes and then add egg and flour.  Using a dough hook, mix until dough forms a ball, adding more water if necessary. Dough should be smooth and elastic.  Continue mixing dough with hook for 4-5 minutes.  Remove dough and divide into 12 equal balls.  Place balls on a clean towel lined with plastic wrap and cover with another sheet of plastic wrap and another towel, let rise for about 2 hours.

1 pound ground beef
4 cloves garlic, minced
4-5 small onions, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. cumin
1/4 cup slivered almonds or pine nuts
salt and pepper
In a large pot add a tablespoon of oil and the onions.  Fry the onions over medium heat until translucent and tender.  Add garlic and cook an additional 1 minute.  Add ground beef and seasonings, cook until beef is completely cooked through.  Taste mixture and adjust seasonings...I find that I want the filling to have a lot of flavor because once it is inside the bread it seems to taste bland if I don't "over season" it.
In a small pan toast almonds until golden and then add to meat mixture.  Allow to cool.

To assemble:
Place one ball of dough on a floured surface and roll out to a thin disc about 8 inches in diameter.  Place a 2-3 tablespoons of the meat mixture into the middle.  Grab the dough at 2 o'clock and 10 o'clock and pull together and crimp the seam.  Then pull the dough up at 6 o'clock and crimp the bottom seam to completely seal in the meat mixture.  Turn over and place on a cookie sheet.  Repeat with remaining dough.  Brush tops with olive oil.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees and place an empty cookie sheet inside.  When oven is hot place meat pies on heated cookie sheet and bake until dough is browned on top, 8-12 minutes.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Vegetable Quiche with a Rosemary Crust

I've been on a mission the past few months to come up with some new items to enjoy for breakfast. The kids really enjoy muffins, pancakes, waffles, and other bready breakfast items, but I need food that has more fuel and staying power than that.  So, I've been trying to make a few things that I can have in the fridge to grab for my own breakfast while still giving them the options that they enjoy.  I recently made this quiche for dinner and then I had the leftovers for breakfast the next two days in a row.  It was yummy and satisfying and I wasn't required to do any additional work to feed myself a healthy breakfast during those busy weekday mornings.

Vegetable Quiche
for the rosemary crust:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 t salt
1/2 cus plus 2 T vegetable shortening
1 T fresh chopped rosemary
1 egg
3-5 T ice cold water
1/2 T white vinegar

Stir the flour and salt together and then cut the vegetable shortening in with a pastry cutter until mixture looks like coarse meal.  Add rosemary.  In a separate bowl beat the egg with 3 T water and vinegar until it comes together.  Add half of the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir with a fork adding more water as necessary until it comes together and just starts to form a ball.
Lightly dust your work surface with water and turn dough out onto surface and form it into a ball and lightly knead until it just looks incorporated.  Form into a disk and wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes or more.

for the filling:
1 T butter
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup red pepper, diced
4 oz spinach
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
5 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/4 parmesan cheese, plus 1 T for top
1/2 cup jack or cheddar cheese
salt and pepper

Melt butter in a medium saute pan and add the onion and cook until it begins to soften.  Add garlic, red pepper, and seasonings and cook an additional 5 minutes.  Add spinach and cook until spinach wilts...remove from heat and allow to cool.  In a medium bowl beat the eggs, milk, parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper.  Add cooled vegetable mixture and cherry tomatoes.

To assemble:
Roll out dough and line a 9-inch pie pan, prick crust with a fork.  Bake at 400 degrees for 7-10 minutes or until slightly brown.  Reduce heat to 350 degrees.  Add egg mixture to crust and bake for 45 minutes or until center is set and knife comes out clean when inserted.  Remove from oven, sprinkle remaining cheese on top and bake an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Butternut Squash Muffins

Today I have another spin-off of our beloved muffins that I'm going to share with you.   Last week I used leftover sweet potatoes to make some tasty muffins that were met with rave reviews from the kids.  Another vegetable that they don't particularly like is butternut squash.  I made two of them last night and as I was packing up the leftovers it dawned on me that I could make muffins with it since it is so similar to pumpkin or sweet potato puree.  So this morning I pulled it out of the fridge and got to work.  The kids actually helped put the squash into the batter and were anxious to try the muffins to see if they tasted as good as the sweet potato muffins.  They could hardly wait for them to cool before they each ate 5 mini muffins and a regular size muffin.  Muffin success!

Butternut Squash Muffins
1 cup cooked butternut squash
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
2 t cinnamon
1/2 t fresh nutmeg
In a medium bowl, whisk dry ingredients together and set aside.  In a large bowl, combine squash, eggs, oil, water, and sugars.  Stir the dry ingredients into the squash mixture until just combined.  Pour into prepared muffin pan.  Bake at 350 degrees until toothpick comes out dry, about 12-15 minutes for mini muffins or 15-20 minutes for larger muffins

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Sweet Potato Quickbread

We always have some type of quick bread in the house...banana, zucchini, and pumpkin are favorites around here so I was pretty sure everyone would like this sweet potato version.  Even though the kids are not huge fans of baked sweet potatoes they gobbled up these muffins.  I just threw in a few extra spuds when I baked potatoes for dinner earlier in the week and then reserved them for these muffins. We ate them for breakfast and snacks through the week.  They also freeze extremely well, just toss in a freezer bag and place in the freezer.  To defrost, simply take them out a few hours or the day before you wish to eat them and they taste just as fresh as the day they were made.

Sweet Potato Quickbread
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 3/4 cups flour
1 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t fresh nutmeg
1/3 cup water or orange juice
1 cup mashed sweet potatoes
1/4 chopped nuts(optional)

Beat sugar and oil until combined.  Add eggs and beat together.  In a bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Stir half of flour mixture to egg mixture alternate with water.  Stir in mashed sweet potatoes and nuts, if using.
Bake in mini muffin tin for 12-15 minutes at 350 degrees or two 9x5 loaf pans for about an hour.

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