Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

 Muffins are a sweet morning indulgence, one that I don't indulge in too often.  When I find a muffin that I love, I go overboard, having a couple in the morning, maybe a another one for a mid afternoon snack, and of course one (okay, 2) in the evening. These lovely Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins were so irresistible. With a soft crumb and tangy lemon flavor, they were just too good, too tempting to pass by. The first time I made them, I didn't glaze them as I never glaze any muffins I make. Don't need the extra sugar, I'd think. But this time I used a glaze and that sweet, lemony glaze put these muffins over the top in the flavor department. Superb, tart flavor. I love them and hope you will too.
Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
slightly adapted from Brown Eyed Baker, which she adapted from
Dori Greenspan
Makes 12 muffins

2/3 cup granulated sugar
grated zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon- I used 2 tablespoons and wouldn't use less
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 1/2 tablespoons poppy seeds

1. Place a rack in center of oven, and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a regular sized muffin pan with baking spray, or line with paper liners.
2. In a large bowl add the sugar and the lemon zest and rub it together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and the lemon fragrance is strong. Mix in the flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, soda, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the sour cream, eggs, vanilla, lemon juice and the melted butter until blended. Pour the liquid ingredients in with the dry ingredients and mix together just until blended. Don't over mix! That will cause a tough crumb. Divide the batter among the 12 muffin cups.
3. Bake in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes. Tops will be golden and tooth pick inserted will come out clean.  Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes. Carefully remove each muffin from pan.
4. There was not a recipe for the glaze given, so I mixed together 1 cup powdered sugar with enough fresh lemon juice to make a glaze. Drizzle glaze over the muffins. Enjoy!

Store muffins in airtight container.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Chicken and Broccoli Stir-Fry

 I seem to be craving spicy foods right now, so this Chicken and Broccoli Stir-Fry is perfect. The addition of dried red pepper flakes will deffinatly wake up your taste buds! Wonderful flavor also comes from fresh ginger, garlic and hoisin sauce. There's not too much chopping involved as there's just a few vegetables. Actually, I added the carrots to this dish the last time I made it to add some extra color, but they are not needed if you don't want them. This is a fairly simple and tasty meal, so I hope you'l give it a try.
Chicken and Broccoli Stir-Fry
adapted from Food Network
Hint: Have all the ingredients chopped, minced and with in reach and this dish will come together quickly.

Chicken and Marinade:
1 pound chicken breasts, cubed
1 or 2 large cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 inch of fresh ginger, minced or finely grated
1 tablespoon soy sauce - I used low sodium
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice vinegar

Other ingredients:
3 tablespoons oil
about 5 cups broccoli florets and trimmed stalk pieces
1 small onion, sliced from end to end, or some sliced green onions
1 carrot, cut into match stick pieces, optional
3/4 to 1 teaspoon dried red chili flakes- I used 1 teas.
1 large clove garlic, minced
another 1/2 inch of fresh ginger, minced or grated
2/3 cup water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce

1. In a bowl, add the chicken and the other ingredients and stir. Marinate at room temperature for 15 minutes.
2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat with 2 tablespoons of oil to the skillet. Add the broccoli stems, florets, onions and carrot, if using, to the pan and stir fry about 2 minutes, until broccoli is bright green. Add the garlic and ginger to the pan the last 30 seconds and stir fry together with the vegetables. Remove the veggies to a plate or bowl. Mix the 2/3 cup water with the cornstarch.
3. Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan and add the chicken and dried red pepper flakes to it. Stir fry chicken about 3 minutes, until it loses it's raw color.
4. Add the hoisin sauce to the chicken and stir. Return the broccoli and other veggies, if any, to the skillet and stir. Add the cornstarch/water mixture to the pan along with the soy sauce. Stir until thickened. Add more water if sauce is too thick. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.
Serve over rice and garnish with toasted sesame seeds if desired. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pecan Sandies

 I grew up eating the Pecan Sandies that you buy from the store as my mother loved them and she always had them stashed in the kitchen somewhere. After I married , whenever I visited her, she always insisted we have coffee and a Pecan Sandie or two, so they grew on me also. I don't buy them because I'd probably eat the whole carton! So when I saw this recipe for Pecan Sandies on Martha Stewart's site, I had to try them. They taste fantastic, and I will make them again. The dough is very crumbly when the ingredients are mixed, so you have to gather the crumbs and roll the dough into balls. I may have handled the dough too much because I thought the cookies were a bit hard, but they did soften slightly on the second day. Next time I'll use parchment paper when I bake them as the cookie edges browned so much I was afraid they would burn. But the flavor is amazing! Loved the buttery, pecan flavors. I'm afraid they didn't last long at our house.
Pecan Sandies
from Martha Stewart
Recipe made about 1 1/2 dozen for me.

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened- I used salted
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt- I omitted this because I used salted butter
1 cup all purpose flour, spooned into cup and leveled
1 cup pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place rack on center of oven. In a bowl, cream the brown sugar and butter together with a mixer. Add in the vanilla. Add the flour and mix on low speed until flour is incorporated. Stir in chopped pecans by hand. Dough will be very sandy and crumbly.
Gather dough and form onto about 1 1/2 inch balls and place about 2 inches apart on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees. for 15-17 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Aspargus, Ham and Fried Egg Stacks for Brunch

 I have news today. I have purchased my own domain so I am now Lynda's Recipe Box dot com! I had thought about it for awhile and am glad I did it. Those of you who have subscribed to my site should not have any trouble recieving my posts, according to Google, but if you do, let me know.
Now to the food. Boy was this small meal delicious. I've made it for breakfast and for dinner lately when I was alone for a meal. My husband hasn't been interested so far, but that just leaves more for me! So easy to put together and it tastes fantastic. My egg looks rather bad because I spooned hot butter over the top of it when it was cooking. I wasn't thinking how it would look in pictures, but trust me it tasted great. I'd been lazy making breakfast lately, giving in to a bowl of cold cereal for several weeks. I guess I finally got hungry for a good morning meal again after reading Larry's breakfast posts. I've been looking for different ways to prepare asparagus when I came across this idea. It was love at first bite. It will be my lunch tomorrow also. I hope you'll give this Asparagus, Ham and Fried Egg Stack a try.
Asparagus, Ham and Fried Egg Stacks
from Lynda's Recipe Box- the idea came from here

No recipe needed really. I put about an inch of water in a skillet and brought it to a boil. Cook the asparagus in the boiling water for 1-2 minutes, until crisp tender, then drain. In a skillet over medium heat add 1 tablespoon butter and lightly brown ham. Remove ham, reduce heat and add 1 egg to skillet. I cooked it sunny side up so the yolk would be runny and I think that's the best way, but cook it anyway you wish. Place ham on plate and stack with the asparagus and egg. Salt and pepper to taste. I'm sure you can tell I like pepper. Enjoy this meal any time of day!
What are some of your favorite ways to prepare asparagus?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Cuban Bread

  Wouldn't you love to have some wonderful homemade bread to eat in 2 hours or less, from start to finish? This is the easiest bread I've ever made. All you do is stir together 5 ingredients, let it rest about 25 minutes, divide into 2 loaves, place in cold oven. Turn on oven and bake. Like I said, this bread is so easy. Oh, and it tastes good too, real good. It developes a great flavor in a very short time. And the sesame seeds add a wonderful toasted flavor to this bread. I've made it twice in one week and we can't stay out of it. When I saw this recipe on Heather's site  I knew I'd have to make it. She makes lots of bread, so I trusted her judgement. This Cuban bread has a thick crust with a very substantial, but soft interior. I made Cuban bread years ago a few times, but it was a long loaf similar to french bread. Seriously, there's not a good reason to not have homemade bread in the house when it comes together this fast. My husband and I love it. Hope you give it a try!
Cuban Bread
adapted from Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads

5-6 cups of bread flour
2 packages dry yeast, I used quick rise
1 tablespoon salt- I used 2 teaspoons
2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups hot water- I just used hot water from the faucet
sesame or poppy seed for top, optional
cornmeal for the baking sheet

1. Place 4 cups of bread flour in a large mixing bowl and add the yeast, salt and sugar. Stir until blended. Pour in the hot water and beat 100 strokes by hand, or about 3 minutes with a mixer.
2. Gradually work in the rest of the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough is no longer sticky. I ended up using almost 5 1/2 cups.
3. Sprinkle your work surface with flour, and work in the flour as you knead by hand, until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. OR, or beat with a dough hook of mixer until smooth.
4. Place dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and place in a warm spot until double in bulk -15 to 25 minutes.
5. Punch dough down and turn the dough out on work surface. Cut in half. Shape each piece into a round and place on baking sheet that has been dusted with cornmeal.
6. Take a sharp knife or razor and slash an  X on each loaf. Mist with water and then sprinkle with sesame seeds or poppy seeds.
7. Place baking sheet in cold oven on the middle rack. Place a pan of hot water on the lower shelf of oven. Turn oven on to 400 degrees F (205 C). The bread will rise while the oven heats.
8.Bake for about 50 minutes, until the loaves are golden and bottom crusts sound hard and hollow when thumped. Cool the loaves on a wire rack a bit before slicing. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Coffee-Cocoa Snack Cake

 My chocolate craving got the best of me the other day, and I just wanted cake. But I didn't want to go to much trouble to make one. Walking through the grocery store, I saw all kinds of snack cakes to buy, and that reminded me of a recipe I had seen for a chocolate snack cake. I'll take homemade cake over store bought any day.When I went home, I found this recipe and decided to give it a try right then. Now, this is not a light fluffy cake. No, this cake is a dense, moist, dark chocolate cake. My only change to the recipe was to add chocolate chips, and to dust the top of the cake with confectioners sugar. I'll do the same again. I personally could not detect any coffee flavor, but it was still very good.
 Son Number 1 stopped by, ate 2 pieces of cake, and proclaimed it "awesome". So I will make it again. It is easy and has great flavor. Here's the recipe.
Coffee-Cocoa Snack Cake
slightly adapted from Fine Cooking

10 tablespoons very soft butter ( 5 ounces)
1- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons unbleached, all purpose flour;  7-1/4 ounces
1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa together- 2-1/2 ounce (not dutch-processed)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 -1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1-1/2 cups brewed coffee- cooled to warm
confectioners sugar for dusting

Place rack in center of oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.
Grease and flour a 9x9 inch square baking pan. If you are going to remove the cake from the pan, then line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and grease and flour it.
Do not use a mixer for this cake, except to cream the butter and sugar together, if desired. I just mixed it all by hand. Easy!
Mix softened butter and sugar in a bowl and cream until smooth. Blend in the eggs, one at a time. Stir in vanilla. Sift the dry ingredients together and pour into the batter. Add the coffee and whisk the ingredients until mixture is smooth and mostly free of lumps.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool before serving.
If you used parchment paper and are going to remove the cake from the
pan, let the cake sit for 20 minutes before inverting onto another rack.
I left my cake in the pan to cool.
This cake is a bit crumbly in texture. It can be wrapped in plastic and stored at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Tex - Mex Beef Enchiladas - ground beef filling with a chipotle sauce

 I have a serious love affair with Tex - Mex food and I especially love enchiladas. I rarely order them in restaurants, but love making them at home instead. I found these wonderful ground beef enchiladas at Everyday Food and couldn't wait to try them. My husband and I loved the smoky,spicy flavor the chipotle chili gave the sauce. It is spicy hot, but not a fire alarm hot, so it does cool down. And considering that we both don't do well with real spicy food, we had no trouble with these enchiladas. Loved them, will make again next week, in fact. Hope you'll give them a try!
Tex - Mex Beef Enchiladas
adapted from Everyday Food

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup flour
1 can (15 ounces) of low sodium chicken broth
1 cup of water
1/2 of a medium onion, minced, my addition
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried cumin - my addition
1 small, canned, chipotle chili pepper in adobo sauce, minced- my chili was about 3-4 inches long
1 tablespoon adobo sauce
Beef Filling:
1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 of medium onion
2 cloves minced garlic, my addition
1 teaspoon chili powder, my addition
1 teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper to taste
8 ounces freshly grated cheese, I used a Cheddar Jack cheese
1/2 cup cilantro
about 10 corn tortillas

1. In a saucepan over medium heat, cook the onion in the 2 tablespoons of oil until softened. Stir in the flour and the chili powder, and whisk for about 1 minute while the flour cooks. Slowly pour in the broth and water, whisking as you pour. Add adobo sauce and minced chipotle pepper, the broth and water. Mix well; bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 10 minutes. Remove from heat until needed.

2. In a skillet, brown the ground beef and minced onion together. When meat is no longer pink, stir in the garlic and stir about 1 minute. Drain off any fat. Season the meat with the chili powder, cumin and salt and pepper.

3. To assemble the enchiladas:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Pour about 1/4 cup of enchilada sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Warm the tortillas. I stacked the tortillas on foil, wrapped them up and placed in oven for about 10 minutes. They were ready to use then. Stir about 1/3 cup of sauce into the beef mixture. Place a rounded 1/4 cup of meat on each tortilla. Add about 1 tablespoon of shredded cheese, and roll up. Lay seam side down in the baking pan. Spread the remaing sauce over the enchiladas. Cover with the cheese. Turn oven up to 400 degrees F. and place enchiladas into the oven. Bake for about 20 minutes until cheese is melted and enchiladas are bubbly. Remove from oven and garnish with cilantro. I also added some diced green onion. So good -  enjoy!

Also check out my Chicken Enchiladas with Sour Cream Sauce
and my Shredded Beef Enchiladas.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Food Ideas for Super Bowl Sunday

Are you needing some food ideas for this coming Super Bow Sunday? How about making Carnitas? Pork shoulder roast is baked in the oven, then shredded for these tasty pork tacos. Bake the pork the day before, if desired.
 For more south of the border ideas, try Chicken Enchiladas with Sour Cream Sauce. The chicken can also be cooked the day before to save you time on the big day.
 I love Sloppy Joes, and they are so easy to make. Your guests can just help themselves and make their own. Have some chips and pickles nearby too.
 How about using your slow cooker for making Barbecued Beef Sandwiches? Beef roast is slow cooked in a smokey BBQ sauce for some great tasting sandwiches.
 Another Crock-Pot meal. Pork butt roast is cooked in the Crock- Pot in a spicy sauce for some delicious Pulled Pork Sandwiches.
 What could be easier than Easy Slow Cooker Beef Stew. I use beef chuck roast that has been cubed, browned and tossed in the pot with vegetables. Let it cook and you got  an easy and delicious meal.
 My Mother made Hamburger Stew often and we love this comforting meal. Add any veggies you like with the hamburger and let it cook. This is a tasty and budget friendly meal idea.
 Baked Barbecued Meatballs will make your home smell wonderful. Just roll the meat mixture into meatballs and place in a baking pan, cover with the sauce and bake. Yummy old recipe.
Hope I've given you a few ideas for your Super Bowl Party. Have fun!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Cheesy Pizza Dip - from Ellie Krieger

 I was strolling across the web the other day when I came upon this interesting recipe for Cheesy Pizza Dip. It caught my eye because it was different from others I have had, plus it was from Ellie Krieger, so I thought it had to be good. And is it ever. Who among you likes to eat bread sticks or pizza crust that you've dipped in extra pizza sauce? Well, that's the idea here. When this is served with toasted baguette slices, the bread becomes the vehicle for delivering the sauce and cheese.  A mini pizza if you will. The sauce is  deliciously thick, spicy, and topped with Mozzarella cheese, Parmesan and creamy ricotta cheese. I love, love, love it! I hope you will to. I think it would be a hit at any get together, even a Super Bowl Party. Here's the recipe.

Cheesy Pizza Dip
adapted from Ellie Krieger
Ellie calls for this to be made and served in a skillet. She baked at 450 degrees. I made it in a 10 inch casserole dish and baked it at 400 degrees F. for about 10 minutes, just until the cheese melted. I also added a couple of tablespoons of diced green pepper, but I don't think I'll do that again.

For the sauce:
1 - 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
1 -2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
pinch of crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons of fresh basil, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste

about 3/4 cup freshly shredded mozzarella cheese
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup ricotta cheese ricotta

In a saucepan, over medium high heat, saute the onion in 1 tablespoon of olive oil until the onion is softened, 4-5 minutes. Add more oil if needed and add the minced garlic to the pan. Saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour the crushed tomatoes, red pepper flakes, and oregano to the pan and simmer for 15 - 20 minutes. Stir in the fresh basil. Sauce will be thick and chunky. There will be about 3 cups of sauce.

Pour the sauce in a baking dish. Top with the mozzarella, and Parmesan. Divide the ricotta onto 4 dollops. Bake at 450 degrees F. until the mozzarella cheese melts, 5-8 minutes.
NOTE: I baked it at 400 degrees F. as I wasn't sure if my pan could handle the higher heat. Enjoy this yummy treat! Can be baked in a pie plate also.

Need some other dip ideas for the Super Bowl this weekend? How about my Black Bean, Corn and Tomato Salsa, One Minute Tomato Salsa, Guacamole or these other dips.