Friday, October 4, 2019

Pecan Toffee Caramel Cookies
























This is one of those cookies that causes you to close your eyes when you take a bite. Especially warm.  So good!

Pecan Toffee Caramel Cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour*
3/4 cup brown Sugar
1/2 cup granulated Sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup toffee bits
1 cup caramel squares, cut into fourths
1 cup chopped pecans
Flaked sea salt, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside. 
 


















Using a spoon, scoop your flour into your measuring cup so that is doesn’t pack down. Keep it loose or you will have too much flour. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking soda, cornstarch, salt and cinnamon.
 



















Add melted unsalted butter, and with a handheld mixer mix until crumbly. Add eggs and vanilla extract and beat until well combined. Fold in toffee chips, caramel squares and pecans. Reserve a few toffee chips, caramel squares and pecans to top cookie dough with for a prettier presentation for later.
 



















Roll 2 heaping tablespoons of cookie dough into a ball and place on prepared baking sheet leaving 2 inches per cookie for spreading. 

Bake for 5-7 minutes or until you see the cookie begin to flatten out. Sprinkle flattened cookies with extra toppings. Bake for another 5-7 minutes or until the edges of cookies are set. Remove from oven and sprinkle with flaked sea salt, to taste.

Let cookies cool for 10 minutes on baking sheet. Enjoy warm or allow to cool completely and store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
 






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Mom's Country Beef Stew































When it’s only 10 degrees outside and you can hear the wind howling, it’s time to think comfort food. There’s something just so comforting about a big pot of beef stew and a skillet of homemade cornbread or a pan of buttermilk biscuits in the oven.  The house seems cozier, the smell is wonderful and you feel warmer knowing that in a few hours you’ll be sitting down to a big bowl of the best comfort food ever!  I make my stew thick just like my Mom did.  What made her beef stew so incredible?  Her secret was browning the beef in bacon fat which made the velvety gravy flavorful and so delicious.

Mom's Country Beef Stew

3 lbs. boneless beef chuck
4 thick slices Applewood-smoked bacon, chopped
2 Tbs. canola oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 carrots cut into chunks
3 stalks celery, cut into 1/2-inch lengths
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
6 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups beef stock or broth
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
1 teaspoon. minced fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
2 lbs. baby Yukon Gold potatoes

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Cut the beef into 1 1/2-inch cubes and set aside. 




























Add the oil to a large Dutch oven or covered pot and fry the bacon over medium heat until crisp and browned, about 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain and set aside. 

Pour the bacon fat into a heatproof bowl. Return 2 tablespoons of the fat to the pot and heat over medium-high heat. Season the beef cubes with salt and pepper. Brown the beef cubes on all sides until no longer pink.  Do this in batches so you do not crowd the pot. Transfer the beef to a plate. 




 























Add another 2 Tablespoon of bacon fat to the pot and heat over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens, about 5 minutes. Stir in the butter and let it melt. 






























Sprinkle with the flour and stir well. Gradually whisk in the beef stock until blended. Add the tomato paste, parsley, thyme, rosemary and bay leaf. Return the beef to the pot and bring to a boil.

Reduce the oven heat to 325, cover the pot and place in the oven, and cook for 2 hours. 

After two hours, cut unpeeled potatoes into 1-inch cubes or if they are small enough, add them whole.
Stir and recover the pot. Continue cooking until both the meat and potatoes are tender, about 45 minutes more. Remove bay leaf. Season the stew with salt and pepper.  Enjoy











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Sunday, August 25, 2019

Croissant Breakfast Casserole















 


I love making breakfast casseroles.  You use all the same ingredients you would normally make for breakfast like bacon and scrambled eggs and biscuits or toast.  But it’s all in one dish and even better!  I love how the flavors all meld together and give you a delicious savory breakfast you can enjoy all week!  If it lasts that long!  This one won’t.  This is one of those “make-it-once-and-you’ll-make-it-time-and-time-again” breakfast casseroles.  The eggs are so fluffy and cheesy and the crust so flaky and light with just a hint of honey. Try it this weekend.  You’ll love it!


Croissant Breakfast Casserole
8 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
2 tubes crescent rolls (I used Honey Butter flavor)
5 large eggs
1 cup whole milk (do not use low fat or fat free)
½ cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper
2 cups cheddar cheese




















 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray.   

 




























Follow the directions on the crescent roll label to roll them and then place each one side by side in the bottom of the baking dish.























In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and cream until well blended.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add in the crumbled bacon and the cheese and mix well. Pour mixture over the crescent rolls.























Bake until the rolls are golden brown and slightly crusty on top and the egg mixture is set, about 25 minutes.  Serve warm.








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Sunday, August 18, 2019

Sausage Gravy and Buttermilk Biscuits























Who would like to join me for some Sausage Biscuits and Gravy this morning?  I’m from Maryland but when it comes to food, I am a true southern girl through and through. My Mom was born in Kentucky and raised in Tennessee and all I ever knew was her southern cooking growing up. You can’t claim to be southern if you don’t know this next recipe. I am crazy about Gravy and Biscuits and make them all the time.

    
 Sausage Gravy and Buttermilk Biscuits


1 pound sage pork breakfast sausage , or any kind you like
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk

In a large skillet over medium high heat, cook the sausage until brown and crumbly. If excess oil, drain while keeping a tablespoon of the sausage oil in the pan. Add the butter and stir well until melted.

   

  



















Sprinkle sausage with flour, stir, and allow to cook for several minutes.  Add the milk and stir. Continue stirring occasionally over medium heat until gravy thickens, 5-10 minutes
























Buttermilk Biscuits


2 cups all-purpose flour 
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup very cold butter, cut into small chunks about the size of sugar cubes
1 cup very cold buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Toss the butter chunks into the flour mixture.   Using a fork or pastry cutter, mash the butter chunks into quarter-sized pieces.  
Mix the cold buttermilk into the flour/butter mixture, tossing briskly with a fork to evenly distribute the buttermilk so no dry bits of flour are visible.  The dough will be sticky but should clear the sides of the bowl.




















Scrape the biscuit mixture out onto a lightly-floured work surface and gather, with floured hands, into a ball.  Roll the dough into a rectangle about 1/4-inch thick.  Fold into thirds and rotate dough 90 degrees, dusting work surface with flour.  Roll out to about 1-inch thick. 

Using a 3-inch biscuit cutter, press down on the cutter, but do not turn or twist, dipping the cutter or glass into the flour after each cut.  Place biscuits onto an ungreased baking sheet, close together.  Bake approximately 15 to 20 minutes, without opening the oven door, until the biscuits have risen and the tops are golden brown.  Remove from oven and split or cut the biscuits in half and top with the prepared hot Milk Gravy. Serve warm.
























Biscuits Making Hints and Tips:
For tender and flaky biscuits, make sure the butter is as cold as you can get it. I keep mine in the freezer.  Try to use your hands as little as possible. Excess handling causes tough biscuits.  

Always bake biscuits on cookie sheets or pans without sides.  The heat will circulate more evenly than on pans with sides.  Remove from oven and immediately remove from baking sheet.












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Sunday, August 4, 2019

Mushroom and Gnocchi Marsala

























I love this quick little recipe. One day a friend called to say she was stopping by and I said, “I'll make lunch.” I knew she was now a vegetarian so I had to think fast. I remembered she loved my Chicken Marsala and mashed potatoes supper I made when she came for dinner the last time. Why not put together something similar without the meat? I did come up with something that took me all of 10 minutes to make. It has now become a big hit for all my guests. It is delicious! I serve it as a side dish or a main dish for lunch and dinner. Everyone loves this dish. You will too!

Mushroom and Gnocchi Marsala

1 Tablespoon butter
1 Tablespoon olive oil
6 oz. mushrooms (I use white button or baby bellas, sliced
1 green onion, sliced
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup Marsala cooking wine
1 package 16 oz. potato gnocchi

    



Melt butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms, sliced green onions, oregano, and salt and  pepper. Saut√© for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.






















Add the chicken broth and the Marsala Cooking wine and scraped the bottom of the skillet making sure you get all the brown bits.  Add in the potato gnocchi.



Cover the skillet and increase heat to high. Cook for about 3 minutes. The liquid will boil and the cooking wine will burn off. Remove lid and garnish with green onion if desired. Serve immediately.   

Total time to make this recipe is about 10 minutes. This is a keeper my friends.








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