Friday, December 26, 2014

Spinach Cheese Squares

Looking for a great, easy and yummy appetizer for the your NYE party?  Look no further.  This is it.  Spinach.  Cheese.  One bowl.  Bake It.  Easy, easy, easy.  Any yummy.  Did I mention yummy?  As well, these are great served hot or cold.  And they store well too (in case you have leftovers, which I doubt you will).

Spinach Cheese Squares

1/2 Cup Butter 
3 Eggs
1 Cup Flour
1 Cup Milk
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
20 Oz. Frozen Spinach (this is usually two boxes if using that type.  I prefer to use the the loose leaf frozen spinach - but I know that isn't as easy to find)
1 Pound Monterey Jack Cheese, Shredded (approx. 4 cups)

Step 1:  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place butter in a 9x13 cake pan.  Set in oven and let the butter melt (appox. 5 minutes).  Remove from oven let stand while you prepare the next set of ingredients.  Be sure to leave the oven on.

Step 2:  In a large saute or frying pan, heat the spinach thoroughly - letting any water evaporate through the cooking process.  Once heated through, drain the spinach and then lay out on a clean dishtowel (or paper towels or cheesecloth) and wring out the spinach.  You want the spinach to be as dry as possible.  Set aside.

Step 3:  In a large bowl, beat the eggs and then add the flour, milk, salt and baking powder.  Stir until well combined.  Add the cooked spinach and the cheese.  Mix well.  

Step 4:  Spread into the pan and bake at for 35 minutes - until it just starts to brown around the edges.  Cut into squares and serve.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Pistachio Cheescake

Still looking for a fabulous dessert for the upcoming holiday?  This may be it.  It is rich, creamy and absolutely divine.  Original recipe can be found here.  I changed up the crust, but the filling is the same in my version.  Yum.

Pistachio Cheesecake

1.5 Cups Graham Cracker Crumbs (approx. 1 sleeve, crushed)
1/3 Cup Sugar
4 Tablespoons Butter, Melted

20 Oz. Cream Cheese, Softened
3/4 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Sour Cream
1/4 Teaspoon Almond Extract
4 Eggs
1 (3.4-oz.) Pkg. Instant Pistachio Pudding and Pie Filling Mix
1 (12-oz.) Pkg. (2 cups) White Chocolate Chips
1/2 Cup chopped shelled pistachios (optional) - I did not use them

Whipped Cream, for serving

Step 1:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a bowl, combine the graham crumbs, 1/3 cup sugar and butter in a bowl.  Once well combined, press onto the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan.  Bake for 1 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool.  As well, once removed from the oven - decrease the oven temp to 325 degrees.

Step 2:  For the filling, in the bowl of a mixer - combine the cream cheese and 3/4 cup sugar.  Beat until well combined.  Next, add the almond extract and sour cream.  Beat until smooth.  Now, add the eggs one at a time.  Continue to mix until the egg is well blended into the batter before adding the next egg.  Once all eggs are added, add the pistachio pudding dry mix and continue to mix until well combined.  Then, add in the white chocolate chips and stir to combine.

Step 3:  Wrap the springform pan in tinfoil (this will prevent leaking as well as help the cake to bake evenly).  Pour the batter into the pan and top with pistachios if using.  Bake at 325 degrees for about 1 hour and 20 minutes (until sides of cheesecake are set and slightly puffed but center still moves slightly when pan is tapped).  Once removed from the oven, remove discard the tinfoil and cool the cheesecake in pan on wire rack for 1 hour. Cover; refrigerate at least 3 hours before serving.

Step 4:  To serve, remove from pan by running a butter knife around the edge of the cheesecake to loosen it from the pan.  Removes the sides of pan, slice and serve with whipped cream on top.


Friday, December 12, 2014

Russian Teacakes

Everyone has a favorite  . ..and these are my hubby's favorite cookie.  I'm not much of a cookie baker, but I've trained taught my daughter how to make these.  She does a fantastic job and has been making them for the past 4 years as a birthday gift to my hubby, her "da-da".  They are kind like buttery, nutty and very sweet orbs of shortcake.  Around these here parts, many of us grew up with these being a Christmas staple and could often find them among the favorites of the Christmas cookie exchange.  Enjoy!

Russian Teacakes

1 Cup Butter, Room Temp
1/2 Cup Sifted Powdered Sugar + 1 Cup for after they are baked
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
2 and 1/4 Cup Flour
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
3/4 Cup Finely Chopped Nuts

Mix butter, sugar and vanilla together.  Blend salt and flour together, then add to butter mixture.  Stir in nuts and chill for 1 hour.

To Bake:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Roll into 1" balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake 10-12 minutes.  Do not flatten!  They will not lose their shape and will remain a round ball.  While still warm, roll in powdered sugar.  Cool.  Then roll again in powdered sugar.  Yield:  4 dozen, 1-inch sized cookies.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Beef Paprika Hot Dish (Casserole)

Here's another great hot dish recipe!  I found this one in my vintage Minnesota cookbook.  Yum!

Beef Paprika
Serves 6-8

1.5 lbs Ground Beef
1 Cup Chopped Onion
2 Cloves Garlic, Chopped
2 Tablespoons Flour
2 Teaspoons Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Pepper
1 Tablespoon Paprika + additional for serving
7-Oz Can of Mushrooms or 1 Cup Fresh Sliced Mushrooms
1 Can Cream of Chicken Soup
1 Cup Water
1 Cup Sour Cream
1/4 Cup Parsley
12-Oz Egg Noodles (dry weight) - Cooked and Drained

Brown the beef, onions and garlic together in fry pan  Stir in flour and seasonings.  Add mushrooms, water and soup.    Cook over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Blend in sour cream; remove from heat.  Stir parsley into the noodles and add to the meat/mushroom sauce.  Pour into a greased casserole pan and place in preheated 350 degree oven and bake for 1/2 hour, or until heated through.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Chocolate Truffles

This is the one that started it all . . .I don't know where it originated, but I have been using this basic recipe for almost 20 years.  Wow.  

This recipe produces a very rich, decadent, velvet-like truffle center.  You will be sure to enjoy!

Chocolate Truffles
Yield:  approx. 30 (1-inch) truffles

3/4 Cup Butter
1 Tablespoon Vanilla
3/4 Cup Cocoa 
1 (14oz) Can of Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 LB Vanilla Candy Coating 
Sprinkles or Colored Candy Coating (optional)

Part 1:  In a heavy saucepan over low heat, melt the butter.  Add the cocoa and stir until smooth.  Add the sweetened condensed milk and vanilla.  Stir until thick and glossy.  This usually takes about 5 minutes for me.  Remove from the heat and pour into a bowl.  Cover and let chill in the fridge for a 3-4 hours so that it can set-up.  I often leave this overnight.

Part 2:  Prepare a cookie tray by lining it with wax paper.  Once thoroughly chilled, form the dough into balls.  You can do this by using a very small cookie scoop (which is what I use) or you can just spoon a portion out and roll in your hands.  Be sure to work swiftly and quickly so that you do not let your body heat from your hands melt the dough.  Once shaped, place on the tray.  Repeat until all dough is formed.  Place tray in the fridge until ready to dip or coat.

Part 3:  To coat or dip, in a double boiler, melt 1 pound of vanilla candy coating.  Let cool slightly.  You want it to be fluid, but not too hot to the touch.  To dip, remove the dough balls from the fridge and one by one, using a fork, dip a ball into the vanilla candy coating, remove with a fork, shake the excess off and then place on a wax paper lined tray to let dry/harden.  To decorate, top with sprinkles or a zig-zag of a contrasting color in vanilla candy coating.  Repeat the dipping process until all truffles are coated.  Place in fridge to harden.  

To store, place in an airtight container and keep in the fridge.  They will last up to 8 weeks.

Tip:  You can flavor these easily by omitting the vanilla extract and adding your favorite flavor.  

Friday, November 21, 2014

Polynesian Party Wings

These are so dang good . . .I had forgotten about how delicious they taste.  When chicken wings were on sale last week at the grocery store, M & I thought to ourselves . . .yeah, we could totally go for some wings.  But we had just had spicy buffalo chicken not too long ago.  So then what?  Aha . . . . sticky wings!!  These are a potluck favorite and are always gone instantly.  Beware – although this recipe makes 3 lbs of wings, you soon learn that 3 lbs really isn’t that much!  You can easily serve these as a main dish with some rice on the side.   They also make a great finger food/appetizer (hint hint . . .holiday or Superbowl time).   The best way I can describe them is a blend between an Asian flavor and a Polynesian flavor.  They are not spicy at all – however, some red pepper flakes would add a new dimension for those who like it hot (experiment at own will)!  As well, I highly recommend lining the cookie sheet/baking pan with tinfoil OR just use a cheap tinfoil pan.  The sauce gets real sticky when you bake the wings – and the pan is not fun to clean!  Unless, of course, you are not the one doing the dishes – then who cares!  I also need to put a plug in about soy sauce in general.  Although this recipe calls for regular Soy Sauce, our family has discovered that we actually prefer Low-Sodium Soy Sauce by Kikoman.  It actually has flavor, other than salty.  If you haven’t tried it – I recommend it.

 Polynesian Party Wings

3lbs Chicken Wings, thawed or fresh
1 Cup Soy Sauce
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Water
½ Cup Pineapple Juice
1 tsp Ground Ginger
1 tsp Garlic Powder

 In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients excluding the meat.  Mix well.  Add the wings and stir to coat the meat.  Cover and let marinade for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours in the fridge.  I like to mix this up at night and let them marinade overnight.  

Prepare baking sheet:  line sheet with tinfoil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.  Or, prep tinfoil pan with nonstick cooking spray.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Bake wings for 1 – 1.5 hours, until tender and fall off the bone.  Yummmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Butternut Squash Soup

Is there any soup more wonderful than butternut squash soup?  Mmmmmm . . .the natural sweetness of the squash kissed with a hint of earthy-ness, creamy and with a hint of cinnamon.  Comfort food at it's finest served on a cold fall day.

Butternut Squash Soup
Serves 4

4 Tablespoon Butter (unsalted)
2.5 Pounds of Butternut Squash - this is the weight before peeling it.
1 Cup Water
1 Cup Milk
1 Teaspoon Brown Sugar
1/4 Teaspoon Cinnamon
Pinch of Nutmeg
Chives (for garnish)
Salt and Pepper 

Step 1:  Prepare the squash by cutting of the ends, removing the seeds and then peeling it.  Once peeled and gutted, cut into small chunks/squares and place in a microwavable bowl.  Add the water to the bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and cook on high for 10-13 minutes.  When it is done, it will be soft and you should be able to take a chunk out and squish it with a fork very easily.

Step 2:  In a blender, puree the squash.  To do so, add about 1/2 to the pitcher of the blender and puree.  If it is too thick, add 1/4 cup of water at a time until you can puree it to a smooth consistency.  Repeat this process with the remaining sauce. I ended up using roughly 1 cup of water to help puree it all.

Step 3:  In a large pot, melt the butter.  Once melted, add the squash and remaining ingredients.  Heat on low, stirring, until heated through.  Too thick?  Add in a little more milk.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and garnish.  Serve warm.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Pumpkin Delight Dessert

Pumpkin .. .the signature flavor of the fall season.  Sometimes I get little bored with pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin bars etc.  I wanted to come up with something not-baked/not-cakey.  And I still wanted cream cheese too.  This creamy and dreamy dessert was exactly what I wanted.  I hope you enjoy!

Pumpkin Delight Dessert
Serves 9

Crust Layer Ingredients:
1/2 Cup Flour
1 Tsp Brown Sugar
4 Tablespoon Butter, room temperature
1/3 Cup Chopped Hazelnuts (or other nut of choice)

Pumpkin Layer Ingredients:
1 (8-oz) Package Cream Cheese
1 Cup Pumpkin Puree
1 Cup Powdered Sugar
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cloves
1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg
1/2 the Cool Whip Tub (see below)

Top Layer:
1/2 of a (8-oz) Tub Cool Whip

Crust Layer Instructions:
In bowl, mix together all ingredients until well blended. Press into an 8x8 or 9x9 baking dish.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes, until just beginning to brown.  Remove from oven and let cool completely.

Pumpkin Layer Ingredients:
Combine all ingredients into a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until well blended.  Fold in the Cool Whip.  Spread evenly over the cooled crust.

Top Layer:
Spread the remaining Cool Whip over the top of pumpkin layer.  Garnish with additional hazelnuts and cinnamon if desired.

Cover and chill for 4 - 6 hours before serving.  

Friday, October 31, 2014

Chili Corndog Casserole

So, I have this slight obsession with corndogs.  I've always loved them, but it's not something I typically buy or even eat often.  But I do really love them.  I also love chili dogs.  Once again, not something I buy when I'm out or even eat very often.  Then I came up with this crazy idea:  what if I made a casserole with all these ingredients in it?!?!?  Boo-ya!  You can thank me later.

Chili Corndog Casserole
Serves 4

4 Hot Dogs
1 Small Can of Chili with No Beans
1 Box Jiffy Cornbread Mix + Ingredients needed to prepare
3 Green Onions
Cheddar Cheese, Shredded 

Step 1:  Grease and prepare a 8x8 or 9x9 baking dish.  Preheat the oven according to the Jiffy Cornbread box (following the instructions for 'Johnny Cake').

Step 2:  Prepare the Cornbread batter as directed on the Jiffy box.  Set aside.

Step 3:  Slice the hot dogs in coins and add to the cornbread batter.  Stir until well combined and pour into the prepared baking dish.  Bake according to the Jiffy Cornbread box (following the instructions for 'Johnny Cake').

Step 4:  While the cornbread is baking, open the can of chili and empty into a heatproof container and microwave until hot.  As well, clean and slice up the green onions.

Step 5:  Once the cornbread/hotdogs are done baking, cool for 5 minutes.  Cut into slices for serving.

Step 6:  To serve, top each piece with a heaping spoonful of chili, a sprinkling of cheese and smattering of green onions.


Friday, October 24, 2014

White Cake with Lemon Filling

This fall my hubby and I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary.  Still newlyweds, right?  To commemorate the date, I made a white cake with lemon curd filling - which is what we served at our wedding reception oh so long ago.  It is such a great flavor profile - tender white cake with thick layer of lemon curd along with creamy white frosting.  Hope you enjoy!

White Cake with Lemon Filling

1 Box White Cake Mix + Ingredients to Prepare
1 Can White Frosting (or one batch of your favorite homemade vanilla frosting)

Lemon Filling Ingredients:
1 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup Cornstarch
1 Cup Water
2 Egg Yolks, slightly beaten
2 Tablespoons Butter
1/3 Cup Lemon Juice 
Yellow Food Coloring (optional)

Cake Instructions:
Step 1:  Grease and flour a 9x13 cake pan.  Preheat the oven per the directions on the cake mix box.
Step 2:  Prepare the cake mix as directed on the box.  Pour into the cake pan and bake as directed.  
Step 3:  Once cake is baked, set aside and let cool completely.

Lemon Filling Instructions:
Step 1:  In a medium saucepan, mix the sugar and the cornstarch.  Gradually stir in the water.  Heat over medium, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and boils.  Boils and stir for 1 minute.

Step 2:  Gradually stir in at least half the hot mixture into the egg yolks.  Stir well.  Pour that mixture back into the pan.  Boil and stir for 1 more minute.  Remove from heat.

Step 3:  Stir in the butter, lemon juice and food coloring.  Set aside and let cool.  Store in fridge until the cake is completely cooled.

To Assemble:
Step 1:  Remove the cake from the pan.  The easiest way I know to do this, is to run a butter knife around the edge of the pan.  Then, cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap.  Standing over a counter or table (so you have someplace to place the cake) - tip the pan upside down and set on the table.  Lift the pan and if you had greased and floured your pan well, the cake should have popped right out.

Step 2:  Slice the cake in half.  To do so evenly, I like to mark the edge with toothpicks.  I use a ruler to measure where the middle of cake is on the edge and then place a toothpick there.  I do this twice on each short end and three times on each long side.  Using a serrated knife, gently saw through the cake, aiming for the toothpicks as markers.  You should know have two slabs of cake.

Step 3:  Place the bottom of the cake (1 slab) back into the cake pan with the cut side on top.  Slather on the lemon curd in an even layer.  Place the top of the cake onto the curd.  

Step 4:  Frost with your favorite vanilla frosting.  I recommend a soft frosting - because you will need to store this cake in the fridge due to the lemon curd.  Stiff frosting will be hard to cut through when refrigerated. 

Store the cake in the fridge.  Enjoy!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Sunny Italy Hot Dish

Looking for a great way to change up your ho-hum spaghetti routine?  This recipe could be the winner for you!  It's all your regular spaghetti ingredients spiffed up some extra cheese and pepperoni and then baked.  Not only is it delicious, you can assemble it ahead of time - and then bake it later.  Yeah baby - that's my kind of recipe!  We are in full blown hockey season here, so I assembled this in the morning before I went work.  Later that day, I just popped into a preheated oven and voila!  Delicious dinner, happy hockey player.

Sunny Italy Hot Dish
Serves 6-8

1 LB Ground Meat (I use sweet italian sausage)
1 LB Shredded Mozzarella (approximately 2 cups)
1/2 LB Spaghetti Noodles
1 Egg
1 Cup Milk
28 OZ Spaghetti Sauce
Parmesan Cheese

Step 1:  Grease a 9x13 pan and set aside.

Step 2:  Brown the ground meat and drain.  Meanwhile, cook the noodles as directed on the package.  
Step 3:  Drain the noodles and place in the 9x13 pan.  In a small bowl, mix together the egg and milk.  Pour it over the noodles.

Step 4:  Now, sprinkle the mozzarella over the noodles.  Then, sprinkle the cooked, ground meat over the mozzarella.   Pour the spaghetti sauce over the ground meat.  Top with pepperoni and sprinkle generously with Parmesan cheese.

Step 5:  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 45 minutes-1 hour or until hot in the center.

To make ahead, complete steps 1-4.  Then, cover the pan and store in the fridge for up to 24 hours.  When it's time to bake it, you may need to bake for an additional 10-15 minutes.

Yum.  Mad props to my girlfriend who originally shared this recipe many, many years ago.  My family loves, loves, loves it! 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Spanish Rice

Here is my favorite recipe for Spanish Rice.  Once you make this, you will never go back to buying the canned or boxed version.  Trust me, this is easy and delicious!  Added bonus:  this freezes great!  Cook up a double batch and freeze half . . .then thaw out at a later date.  Totally worth it.  Ole!

Spanish Rice
Serves 4-6

1 Tablespoon Butter
1/2 Cup Chopped Onion
1/8 Cup Chopped Green Pepper
14 oz Can Diced Tomatoes
3/4 Cup Water
1/2 Cup Uncooked Minute Rice
1/4 Cup Chili Sauce
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Celery Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Brown Sugar
1/4 Teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 Teaspoon Paprika
1/4 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese

In a large saucepan, add the butter and saute the onion and green pepper until fragrant and translucent (do not let it get brown).  Stir in the remaining ingredients except for the cheese.  Simmer on low and uncovered until thick - about 35 minutes.  Check frequently and stir occasionally to make sure it isn't sticking to the pan.  To serve, sprinkle with cheddar cheese.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

Close your eyes and set the way-back-machine to 1996.  Alanis Morissette, 2Pac, Coolio, Oasis . . .baggy sweaters, clunky loafers, tall socks and CKOne.  Good times my friends, good times . . .and that's where I first learned about these amazing Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas.  I was in college and a friend-of-a-friend used to make these enchiladas along with Spanish rice on the side.  

This recipe is pure nostalgia for me . . but the I love the flavors.  They are not spicy, but creamy and oh-so very flavorful.  Yum.

Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas
Serves 4-6

1 (12-count) Package of Flour Tortillas, 6-inch size
4 oz Can of Green Chiles
2 Cups Shredded Chicken (cooked)
1 Cup Diced Onion
1/2 Cup Diced Green Bell Pepper
5 TB Butter, divided
1/4 Cup Flour
1 and 1/2 Cups Shredded Monterrey Jack Cheese
1 Tablespoon Ground Coriander
3/4 Teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Sour Cream
2 and 1/2 Cups Chicken Broth

Step 1:  Prepare a 9x13 baking dish by greasing it or spraying with non-stick spray.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 2:  In a large bowl, combine the chicken and green chiles.  Set aside.  

Step 3:  In a large sauce pan, add 2 Tablespoons of butter and the onion and green pepper.  Saute until tender.  Add to the onion/pepper mixture to the bowl with the chicken.  Set aside.

Step 4:  In the same (now empty) sauce pan, melt the remaining butter (3 TB).  Stir in the flour, coriander and salt. It will form a thick paste.  This is good and this is what you want! 

Step 5:  Slowly add in the chicken broth to the flour paste you just made by adding a little broth at a time and stirring until well combined.  Cook over medium heat until slightly thickened.  This should only take a few minutes.  Once thickened, stir in the sour cream and 1/2 cup of the cheese.

Step 6:  Take 1/2 cup of the sauce you created and add it to the chicken mixture.  Stir to combine.

Step 7:  Time to assemble!!  Take one tortilla and place approximately 1/4 cup of the chicken filling on top of it and then roll it up.  Place it in the baking pan and repeat until all the tortillas are filled.  

Step 8:  Pour the sauce over filled tortillas and then sprinkle with the remaining cheese.  Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes (until heated through, hot and bubbly).  

Serve it up with some Spanish Rice and you will be patting yourself on the back and waiting for more!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Oysters Rockefeller

Talk about a real treat!  This past weekend we made Oysters Rockefeller.  And OMG.  They were amazing.  And let me tell you, oysters are far easier to open/shuck than clams.  If you love seafood, this is a very easy one to prepare at home.  Fresh, succulent oysters topped with a warm, garlicky, gooey yet slightly crunchy topping.  Oh my gosh . . . now I want them right now!  The original recipe I used is here.  However, I just had to make it my own . .. and here it is:

Oysters Rockefeller
Creates 12 Oysters 

1 dozen oysters, shucked
2 TB Butter
1 Large Teaspoon of Chopped Garlic
1/3 Cup Breadcrumbs
1/4  Cup Spinach (frozen, crumbled - not the kind frozen in a block)
2-3 Green Onions, sliced
1-2 Dashes of Tabasco
2 Tablespoons Parsley, chopped
1/4 Teaspoon Tarragon
1/3 Cup Parmesan Cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Step 1:  Shuck the oysters keep the oyster on the half shell. You can discard the other half of the shell.  Place shells with oysters on them on a large baking sheet.

Step 2:  In a saucepan, melt the butter over low.  Add in the garlic, spinach, green onion and tarragon.  Saute until the spinach is hot.

Step 3:  Next, add the parsley, Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs to the spinach mixture.  Stir to combine and remove from heat.

Step 4:  Top each oyster with a heaping spoonful of the mixture.  Be sure to use up all the mixture.

Step 5:  Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake until golden brown, about 10-15 minutes.  Serve immediately.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Grandma's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Made these recently as I was craving chocolate chip cookies.   Every time we went to Grandma and Grandpa's house, you could count on there being chocolate chip cookies to be eaten.  

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yield:  6-7 dozen cookies

1 Cup Shortening
2/3 Cup Cup White Granulated Sugar
1 Cup Brown Sugar, Firmly Packed
2 Eggs
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
2 and 1/3 Cup Flour
1 Cup Chocolate Chips
1 Cup Chopped Nuts (optional)

Step 1:  Cream together the sugars, shortening, eggs and vanilla thoroughly.
Step 2:  Spoon flour into dry measuring cup.  Level off and pour measured flour onto waxed paper.  
Step 3:  To the flour, add the baking soda and salt.  Stir thoroughly.
Step 4:  Add the dry ingredients mixture to the creamed mixture and mix well.
Step 5:  Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.
Step 6:  Drop by teaspoon fulls onto greased baking sheet.
Step 7:  Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

Please note, adjust the bake time as necessary for your oven.  15 minutes was a little long for me.  I ended up baking them for about 10 minutes per sheet.

Friday, September 12, 2014

SOS: Cheeseburger Edition

Desperation meals . . .fueling creativity since the beginning of time.  I especially love SOS.  Not familiar?  Let's just say I'm not going to define the acronym here . . but you can look it up sometime.  Comfort food at it's finest!

SOS:  Cheeseburger Edition
Serves 6-8

1 lb Ground Beef (cooked and drained)
6-8 Slices of Bread
6-8 Slices of Cheese
Chopped Onions

Step 1:  Toast your bread.
Step 2:  Preheat your broiler.
Step 3:  Place toast in a single layer on a baking sheet.
Step 4:  Divide the cooked (and still warm) ground beef evenly among the slices of toast.
Step 5:  Drizzle each SOS with ketchup and mustard.
Step 6:  Top them with some chopped onion.
Step 7:  Finally, lay a slice of cheese on top of each SOS.
Step 8:  Put into oven and broil until cheese is melted and bubbly.  Serve immediately with a side of pickles.

Note:  I often brown/cook large amounts of ground beef at one time.  Once cooled, I split into 1 pound portions, place in a freezer bag, and then freeze for later.  It can be used for spaghetti sauce, sloppy joes, SOS etc.  For this recipe, I just pulled out a frozen bag and defrosted the contents in a fry pan and reheated.  Super simple time saving tip.

Friday, September 5, 2014

White Russian Cake

Check out this yummy recipe . . which packs a small punch.  It's made with Kahula, but please note - it's kid friendly.  The booze will actually bake out of it.  This is a sweet, moist cake with a coffee flavor that will knock your socks off.  Top with a nice vanilla glaze and viola!  Gives new meaning to coffeecake.

Originally, I googled 'white russian cake'.  Google came back to me with all these chocolate cake recipes with Kahlua in them.  I thought to myself, "Self, White Russian's do not have chocolate in them."

Then I googled 'black russian cake'.  Silly me, I forgot that White Russian's contain cream and Black Russian's do not.  Still, neither contain chocolate.  True story.  Check out the links below in case you don't believe me.

Now, granted, all those recipes I googled did look delicious . . .but not kid friendly.  I'm all about drenching cakes with booze - but I wanted a simple family-friendly cake.  So here it is, my version of a White Russian Cake.

White Russian Cake
1 Box White Cake Mix + Ingredients to Prepare It
1 Cup Kahlua
Vanilla Glaze (1.5 Cups Powdered Sugar, 1/4 Cup Half and Half, 1 Teaspoon Vanilla)

To prepare the cake, follow the box instructions except omit the water and substitute Kahlua.  Bake as directed.  Let cool completely.

Once the cake has cooled, prepare the glaze by combining all the ingredients for the glaze in a small bowl.  Mix together thoroughly and then pour over the cake.  Enjoy!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Peanut Butter Mousse Brownies

This one.  Yes.  This one.  This is the one that whispers to you late at night while everyone else is sleeping.  Did you hear that?  That soft, dark velvety voice . . ."Pssssst.  I'm in the fridge waiting.....  no one will mind if you have just one little nibble."  And then BAM!  A whole piece is gone.  True Story.

Who doesn't love another great brownie recipe?  Peanut butter and chocolate unite in this decadent treat!  Don't be shy . . .it is super simps and very impressive.  Don't let the voices get to you.

Peanut Butter Mousse Brownies

1 Box Brownie Mix + Ingredients to Make It
1/2 Cup Peanut Butter
1 pkg Vanilla Pudding
1 and 1/4 Cup Milk
4 oz Cool Whip

Prepare brownies as directed on the box.  I made mine in an 8x8 pan, which resulted in a thick and decadent brownie.  Let Cool.

While brownies are cooling, prepare the mousse!  In a mixing bowl, add the pudding powder and the milk. I used the whip attachment on my mixer and whipped it on medium for 1 minute.  Add the peanut butter to the bowl and continue to whip for 3-4 minutes, until the peanut butter is fully incorporated.   Now, fold in the Cool Whip (by hand with a spatula or spoon) until just combined.  Gently spread the mixture over the cooled brownies.  To store, cover them and keep them in the fridge.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Weeknight Tostadas

Every Sunday morning routine seems to reign.  Retrieve paper from the neighbor's driveway, separate the sections, look at the advertisement circulars, complain that nothing good is on sale, and then ask hubby what he wants for dinner this week.  He almost inevitably responds, "Tacos".  Or maybe, just maybe - he'll say "something Mexican".  If you are like me and get tired of the same-old, same-old tacos . . .try this out.  They are fabulous.  These can also be made without meat for a yummy meatless meal.

Weeknight Tostadas

1/2 Can Red Enchilada Sauce (10 oz can - save or freeze the rest)
1 Can Refried Beans (same size can as above, but use the whole thing, please note the weight will be different)
1 - 2 lbs Taco Meat Prepared (I used ground beef)
Shredded Cheese of Choice (I used taco blend)
Taco Fixin's of Choice (lettuce, guacamole, etc)

Step 1:  Open up the refried beans and place in skillet.  Slowly mix in the enchilada sauce. Heat over medium high heat, stirring occasionally until heated through.
Step 2:  Heat up your taco meat if it's not already heated.
Step 3:  Assemble.  Place a tostada on a plate, spread with the bean/sauce mixture and sprinkle with cheese.  Garnish with all your favorite taco fixin's!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Loaded Chocolate Zucchini Bars

In the spirit of summer and for the love of zucchini, I fell prey to a recipe I found on Pinterest for a low-fat brownie that uses zucchini, banana and applesauce.  No egg, no oil.  Original recipe can be found here.

Well, I had all the ingredients laying around, so I thought "what the heck" and gave them a try.  They are delicious, but not a substitute for a real brownie (unless you are seeking dietary substitutes of sorts).  The texture is very fudgy - which is awesome.  My recommendations:  
  • Let cool completely and/or let sit a day before eating.   The first one I ate, I thought was just okay.  The second one I ate (after they had sat a day) was border line phenomenal.  
  • Alter them however you would like.  I added unsweetened coconut and grated milk chocolate to mine.

I think the reason I loved this recipe though, is mostly because I was able to sneak in some veggies and use some of my favorite kitchen tools (I cannot lie:  I love my KitchenAid shredder attachment;  I used it to shred the zucchini as well as shred the frozen banana that I used).   Furthermore, these would be really great for a breakfast on the go.

Loaded Chocolate Zucchini Bars 

1/4 Cup Applesauce
1 Small or Medium Banana, mashed
3/4 Cup Sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla
3/4 tsp. Baking Soda
1/4 Cup Cocoa 
1/4 tsp. Salt
1 Cup Zucchini, shredded
1 Cup Flour
2 oz Mini Chocolate Chips
1/3 Cup Coconut, shredded and unsweetened

Step 1:  Preheat oven to 350 F.  Grease a 9x9 baking dish.  

Step 2:  In medium sized bowl, mix together the applesauce, banana, sugar, vanilla and zucchini.  Next, stir in the baking soda, salt, cocoa and flour.  Once all is incorporate well, stir in the coconut and chocolate chips.

Step 3:  Pour the batter into the greased pan.  Bake at for 25-35 minutes.  When it begins to pull away from the edges and the middle is set, it is done baking.  As well, you can do the toothpick test (insert clean toothpick into the middle and if it comes out clean, they are done).

Cool completely before eating.  Serves 9.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Hungarian Pork Chops with Pan Sauce

We've been in a dinner rut lately.  Can't lie.  I've had a lack of ambition.  In fact, I've been sooooooo lazy - that I've even been watching tv lately.  I know, I know.  That's so not me.  But something good came out of it:  Hungarian Pork Chops.  
I was watching PBS and Sara Moulton was on.  She made these Hungarian Pork Cutlets and they looked amazing.   Delicious breaded pork, creamy sauce . . .and I love, love, love paprika!  

Dinner rut be gone!  The next night I made my own version of her recipe.  I used what I had on hand, which was pork chops.  I skipped the shallot and used white onion instead (likely a little bolder in flavor) and also added in mushrooms (because we are crazy like that with the shrooms).  Viola!  Yum. Yum. Yum.

Hungarian Pork Chops with Pan Sauce
Serves 4

4 Pork Chops
1/4 Cup All-Purpose Flour
Salt and Pepper
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1 Small White Onion, Diced Fine
8 oz Sliced Mushrooms
1 1/2 Tablespoons Paprika
1 Tablespoon Caraway Seeds
1 and 1/2 Cup Low-Sodium Chicken Broth
1/4 Cup Sour Cream

Step 1:  Season the pork chops with salt and pepper.  
Step 2:  Add the oil to a large frying pan and heat over medium high heat.  
Step 3:  Meanwhile, in a shallow bowl or pie plate, add the flour.  Dredge the pork chops in the flour and place in the fry pan.  Cook until golden brown on the bottom then flip and cook until golden brown on the other side.  Remove from the fry pan and set aside.
Step 4:  Add the onion and mushrooms to the saucepan and cook until the onions are translucent and beginning to brown.  
Step 5:  Add the paprika and caraway seeds to the onion and stir to combine. 
Step 6:  Add the chicken broth to the pan and stir to combine.  Be sure to scrape up all the bits and pieces of flour and pork that are stuck to the pan.  Let simmer for 2-3 minutes so the flavors can combine.
Step 7:  Return the pork chops to the pan, cover and let cook until the chops are cooked through.**
Step 8:  Remove the chops and place on platter.  Add sour cream to the pan and stir thoroughly to combine and form a sauce.  Pour the sauce over the chops to serve.

What should you serve it with?  Well, we served ours with spaetzle and steamed broccoli.  It would also be yummy served over egg noodles instead of spaetzle.

**Pork should be cooked until the internal temp reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit.  Then let it rest for 3 minutes before serving.  For more information, click here.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Lemon Dill Rice

Who needs a new rice recipe?  I did! I did!  Lemon Dill Rice - bright lemon + tangy dill = yum!  I came across this recipe and gave it a whirl.  I tweaked the recipe a bit  because I thought that adding salt + bullion would make it way too salty.  So, I've accounted for that in my recipe below.  Remember, you can always add salt! I've served this with grilled pork chops and it was fantastic.  I imagine it would also go great with fish.  If I had green onion or chives on hand, I would have added those before serving.  This turned out super yummy.

Lemon Dill Rice
Yield:  Approx. 3 Cups

1 Cup White Rice
1.5 Teaspoons Lemon Zest
1 Teaspoons Dill 
2 Cups Low-Sodium Chicken Broth
1TB Butter

Combine all ingredients in a large sauce pan except butter.  Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to low.  Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until all water is absorbed.  Be sure to stir occasionally so it doesn't stick to the bottom of your pan.  Add butter, stir and fluff with fork before serving.  This also turns out great using a rice cooker.

FYI - you can easily double this recipe and freeze half to serve at a later date.  Just let it thaw out and then heat in the microwave.  

Friday, July 25, 2014

Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant:  do you love it as much as I do?  Or, are you a little skeptical?  Well, this recipe is a sure winner for you skeptics out there.  You slice up the eggplant, bread it and then bake it.  From there, you can serve as is or you can layer it with some red sauce and mozzarella (much like Eggplant Parmesan).  Give it a try . . .tender eggplant, crispy coating . . .mmmmmm.  This recipe is my take on Eggplant Parmesan . . .which is a little different than the traditional version.  I like my eggplant to have a crispy coating; so I assemble the eggplant and bake it first and then top with creamy mozzarella and marinara sauce.

Eggplant Parmesan
Serves 3-4 as a Side Dish or
2 as a Main Dish

1 Large Purple Eggplant
1 Cup Breadcrumbs
1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese
1 TB Italian Seasoning
2 Eggs
1 Cup Flour
2 TB Corn Starch
1 Cup Shredded Mozzarella or Sliced Mozzarella
1 Cup Marinara Sauce
Olive Oil

Step 1:  Slice off the ends of the eggplant and then slice into 1/2 inch - 3/4 inch pieces.  Peel and place in colander.

Step 2:  Sprinkle the eggplant with salt and place the colander in the sink or into a bowl.  The salt will help release the excess moisture.  Let stand for a minimum of 30 minutes.

Step 3:  Rinse the eggplant and pat dry.  Set aside.

Step 4:  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare a large baking by spraying it with nonstick spray.

Step 5:  Gather three shallow dishes.  In the first dish, add the flour and cornstarch.  Blend well with a fork.  In the second dish, place your eggs slightly beat.  In the third dish, place the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning;  mix together.

Step 6:  Dip an eggplant slice first into flour mix, then the egg and then dredge it in the breadcrumb mixture.  Place on the baking sheet.  Repeat this until all eggplant slices are coated.

Step 7:  Drizzle the coated eggplant slices with olive oil.

Step 8:  Bake in oven for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven, flip all slices and return the pan to the oven and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until golden brown on the outside and soft on the inside.

To Serve:  Top each eggplant piece with mozzarella and marinara sauce.  Basil and parsley garnishes are optional.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Butter Brickle Cake with Brown Butter Frosting

I was struggling with what kind of birthday cake to bake for myself this year.  Usually, chocolate is the winner (or some variation).  However, I kept thinking about how when I was a kid . . .the big treat was that we got to pick out what kind of ice cream we had with our birthday cake.  And I always picked Butter Brickle.  That flavor seems to be pretty elusive these days, so I tried to tackle it in the form of a cake.  And the the flavor of the cake was right on.  The density of the cake is much like a pound cake - a little heavy.  But it baked up beautifully and the browned butter frosting is to-die-for (the frosting recipe is a Southern Living recipe).

Butter Brickle Cake with Browned Butter Frosting

Cake Ingredients:

1 and 1/4 Cup Unsalted Butter, room temperature
2 Cups Flour
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
5 Eggs, room temperature
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup White Sugar
1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
2 Cups Toffee pieces (I used Heath Bits without the chocolate, which can be found by the baking chips in our grocery store)

Step 1:  Preheat the oven to 325 degree Fahrenheit.  Prepare two 8 inch round pans (grease and flour).  Set aside.
Step 2:  Cream the butter and sugar together until well blended.  
Step 3:  Continue to beat and add the eggs one at a time, making sure each is incorporated before adding the next.  Be sure to scrape down your mixer bowl every now and then.
Step 4:  Add the vanilla.
Step 4:  In a separate bowl, measure out your flour and add the baking powder.  Stir to combine.
Step 5:  Slowly combine the flour mixture to the sugar/egg mixture.  Stir until just combined.  Do not over mix.
Step 6:  Add the toffee bits to the batter and stir in.
Step 7:  Divide the batter between the baking pans.  The batter will be thick - you may need to spread it out with a spatula.
Step 8:  Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, tops will be golden brown and a toothpick inserted will come out clean.
Step 9:  Let cool completely before frosting.

Browned Butter Frosting Ingredients:

1 Cup Butter
16 oz Powdered Sugar
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/4 Cup Milk

Step 1:  Place the butter in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, 8 to 10 minutes or until butter begins to turn golden brown. Remove pan immediately from heat, and pour butter into a small bowl. Cover and chill 1 hour or until butter is cool and begins to solidify.
Step 2:  Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy; gradually add sugar alternately with milk, beginning and ending with sugar. Beat at low speed until well blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Creamy Cucumber Salad

Cucumbers . .. however you slice them, they are perfect for summer salads and snacking!  The crisp texture and light flavor can be amazing when complimented with the right seasonings.  My favorite way to eat cukes is to have them bathed in a creamy dressing with onions and dill.  Enjoy the recipe!

Creamy Cucumber Salad
Serves 4 - 6

3-4 Cucumbers, medium to large in size
1/4 Cup Sugar
2 Tablespoons White Vinegar
1/2 Cup Mayo
1/4 Cup Milk
1 Teaspoon Dill
1 Small White or Red Onion, sliced thin
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Step 1:  Peel and slice the cucumbers and place into a large bowl.
Step 2:  Peel and slice the onion and add to the cucumbers.
Step 3:  In a small bowl, combine the mayo, sugar, vinegar, dill  and milk.  Stir until well combined.  
Step 4:  Pour the dressing over the cukes/onions.  Cover the bowl and place in fridge for at least 1 hour.  
Step 5:  Before serving,  add salt and pepper to taste.


Friday, July 4, 2014

Creamy Mashed Cauliflower

Let me start by saying:  I do not like cauliflower.  Here is a conversation from our house yesterday:
Me:  What do you want with the meatloaf tonight?
Hubby:  mmmmm.  I don't care.
Me:  I was thinking baked potatoes..?
Hubby gives me a discerning look. And then says:  Cauliflower?
Me:  Eww.
And then I decide to make myself a baked potato and him cauliflower.  But then I forgot to grab a potato from downstairs and I didn't feel like walking back downstairs.  So, cauliflower it was!  And boy, oh boy, it turned out fab.u.lous!  I've made mashed cauliflower before and I wasn't impressed.  However, I went with the clean-out-the-fridge route and mixed in a little Parmesan and cream cheese when I mashed it.  Swooooooon!  All that was left was one big spoonful . . .so I know it well received :)

Mashed Cauliflower
Serves 4

1 lb Frozen Cauliflower
1 TB Cream Cheese
1 TB Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon Garlic
1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste

Step 1:  Cook the cauliflower per the instructions on the container.  I microwaved mine.  Drain well.
Step 2:  In a food processor, add the cauliflower + the remaining ingredients.  Pulse until smooth.  Taste, adjust salt and pepper as needed.  Serve immediately.  Nobody likes cold cauliflower puree.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Almond Cream Pie

Almonds. Yummy.  Enough said.  

Almond Cream Pie
Serves 8

1 Baked 8-inch Pie Shell
1/2 Cup Sugar
3 Tablespoons Cornstarch
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
2 Cups Milk
3 Egg Yolks, Beaten
1 Tablespoon Butter (Room Temp)
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 and 1/2 Tablespoons Almond Extract
3/4 Cup Toasted Sliced Almonds
Whip Cream (for serving)

Step 1:  in a heavy saucepan, stir together the sugar, cornstarch and salt.  Stir together until blended.
Step 2:  In a bowl, combine the egg yolks and milk.  Stir together until blended.
Step 3:  Gradually pour the egg/milk mixture into the pan with the dry ingredients.  Stirring well to combine.
Step 4:  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Bring to a boil and let boil for 1 minute - all the while stirring!
Step 5:  Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, vanilla and almond extract.  Stir until the butter is melted and all is combined.
Step 6:  Pour into pie shell and decorate/sprinkle with toasted sliced almonds.
Step 7:  Cover tightly with saran wrap and let chill in fridge for 2 hours before serving.  Serve with whipped cream.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Jo-Jo Potatoes

This is my all-time most favorite ways to have potatoes.  No fooling.  I absolutely love, love, love these. These delicious potatoes have many monikers:  jo-jos, oven fries, baked rounds etc etc.  Personally, I call them delicious :)  They are my favorite way to eat potatoes and despite a few steps for prep, they are pretty easy to make.  They are tender yet a little crispy and flavorful, but not overpowering.  Serve these instead of your standard french fries or tator tots.  Your loved ones will eat them right up and beg for more!

Jo-Jo Potatoes
Serves 2-3
Prep + Bake Time = 1 Hour

1 lb Potatoes
1/2 Cup Flour
1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese
1 TB Seasoned Salt
Oil of Choice (olive, canola or vegetable)

Step 1:  Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare a baking sheet by greasing it with cooking oil or spray.

Step 2:  Gather your potatoes, about 3 or 4 and wash them - roughly a pound.  Be sure to remove any of those ugly eyes!

Step 3:  Then, slice them into 1/4-inch rounds.  Mmmmmmmmmm starchy.

Step 4:  Grab and empty bread bag or paper bag.  Pour the flour, seasoned salt and Parmesan cheese into the bag.  Close the top and give it a good couple shakes to combine.  You can change up the seasoning to what you like . . .if you love garlic, add garlic!  Love paprika?  Add paprika!

Step 5:  You will now begin to coat the potatoes!  Place a 3 or 4 slices of potato into the bag and then give it a few shakes.

Retrieve with tongs and place on a greased baking sheet.

Repeat until all the potatoes are coated and laying in a single layer on the baking sheet.  Discard any leftover flour mixture.

Step 6:  Drizzle some cooking oil over the potatoes.  They don't need to be coated, but just a drizzle is good.

Step 7:  Place in oven to bake.  After 25 minutes, pull them out and flip the slices.  Aren't they looking yummy??  I really love, love, love those ones that turn a little more brown than the others.  Like that one in the upper left corner.  Yeah . . .you see the one.  That one. MINE!!!

Step 8:  Return to the baking sheet to the oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until tender. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Pesto Bread

I came across this recipe and I was instantly captivated by it.  I just knew I had to make it.  So I did.  And it did not disappoint me.  The entire loaf was gone within 2 days at our house.  And let me tell you . . .I am not a bread baker.  So, please do not be scared to make this incredible bread.  I made a few tweeks to the original version to fit my family.  I used a jarred pesto instead of making my own as well I used regular white flour.  I'm telling you:  A.MAZ.ING!  My family has already asked me to make again :)

Pesto Bread

1 and 1/4 Cup Warm Water
1 Packet of Yeast
1 Teaspoon Sugar
2 and 1/2 Cups Flour
1 Teaspoon Salt
3 Tablespoons Parmesan Cheese
1/2 Cup - 2/3 Cup Pesto

Step 1:  Place yeast and sugar in bowl and add the very warm water.  Stir to combine and then walk away and let the yeast/sugar dissolve into the water.  After about 15 to minutes, your yeast should be bubbly and ready to go for the next step.

Step 2:  Fit your large stand mixer with the dough hook.  Add the flour and salt to the bowl of the mixer. With mixer running on low, slowly add the yeast mixture. Increase the speed to medium high and mix until the dough comes together into a nice ball of dough. It shouldn't be too sticky or super dry either.

Step 3:  Prep a large bowl by lightly greasing it.  Take the dough from the mixer and shape it into a nice smooth ball.  Place into the greased bowl.  Cover it and allow it to rise until doubled (about an hour).  It helps if you can put the bowl in a nice warm spot without drafts.

Step 4:  Next, we are going to roll out the dough.  I like to use wax paper when I roll out anything.  You don't have to, but it makes this task a little easier and cleanup a little easier too.   Regardless, sprinkle a little flour onto a clean surface and place the dough on top.  Roll out the dough with a rolling pin into approximately a 10x20 inch rectangle.

Step 5:  Starting with a 1/2 cup of pesto, spread it out on the dough - but stay about 1/2 inch away from the edges.  If it doesn't seem like enough pesto, add a little more.

Step 6.  Time to roll-up the dough!  Starting at one of the shorter sides, tightly roll up dough and be sure to pinch the edges as you go so that pesto stays in the middle.

Step 7:  Lightly grease a bread loaf pan.  Now, if you want a pesto-swirl bread, you can skip this twisting  part of this step.  However, if you want more of a braided loaf, use a sharp knife and very carefully slice through the dough lengthwise.

You will now have two pieces.

  Twist the two pieces together and place into your bread pan.

Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Lightly cover and let rest/rise for about 30 minutes.

Step 8:  Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F.

Step 9:  Now that bread has rested for 30 minutes, bake it for about 40 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 190°F and it is slightly golden brown on the top.

Step 10:  Let cool and remove from pan.  Enjoy!

Be sure to store any leftovers in a tightly sealed container.

Troubleshooting dough tips: If dough is too sticky, add a spoonful more flour until ball forms. If dough is too dry, add a spoonful of olive oil at a time until a ball forms.