Friday, February 28, 2014

Pierogi Lasagna

Let's talk about pierogi's for a minute.  Pierogi's are stuffed little dumplings.  They are typically stuffed with potatoes.  Others things can be added to the potatoes, such as sauerkraut or bacon or cheese.  And then they are boiled, drained and lightly sauteed with butter and onions and often served with sour cream to top them off.  Now, you can probably see where there is a time investment when making these.  That's why I was so excited when I first discovered this recipe for pierogi lasagna.  It's got all the same components . . .just layered instead of as dumplings!  Pasta, cheesy potato, onions, bacon.  Oh boy.  YUM.  The original version is fantastic.  Head over there for a step by step tutorial.  I can't explain it any better.  They do a wonderful job on the tutorial.  

However, here's a picture of mine:

Friday, February 21, 2014

Root Beer Bars

This is one of my go-to faves.  It's unique yet delicious.  Always a crowd-pleaser and you can count on no-one else bringing them to the potluck.  They are reminiscent of a soft, chewy cookie-type-bar.  Many grocery stores carry root beer extract, but in case you have trouble finding it - I buy mine at our local beer/wine-making supply store.  Please note, this recipe also calls for actual root beer soda.  Use whatever kind you prefer.  

Root Beer Bars

4 Cups Flour
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Brown Sugar, packed
1 Cup Butter, softened
1/2 Cup Root Beer, flat
2 Large Eggs
2 Teaspoons Root Beer Extract
1 Teaspoon Vanilla

1 and 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar
1 Tablespoon Milk, Flat
1 Tablespoon Butter, softened
1 Tablespoon Root Beer Extract

For the Bars:
Step 1:  Heat Oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Meanwhile, in a medium sized bowl stir together four, baking soda and salt.
Step 2:  In large bowl, beat together both sugars, the butter, root beer, eggs, root beer extract and vanilla until well combined.  
Step 3:  Add the flour mixture to the sugary mixture and stir until just combined.  This will be a thick dough-like batter.
Step 4: Spread the dough evenly into a greased 9x13 baking pan.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Let cool before frosting.

For the Icing:
This is intended to be a thin icing, so do not be alarmed!  In a small bowl, combine icing ingredients and mix with a spoon until smooth.  Add more powdered sugar if too runny;  add more milk if it is too thick.   It should coat a spoon nicely.  Spread onto cooled bars.  The icing will sink into the bars and set nicely.  The hard part is waiting!  Be sure to store these in a covered container so that they don't dry out!

King's Favorite Bars

Growing up, these were known as "Lucy's Favorite Bars".  Whenever it was my turn to pick out what kind of bar my mom was going to bake for us that week . . .darn tootin' I always picked these.  They are moist, chewy, chocolaty and have three different layers.  Oh, and did I mention how EASY they are to make??  You will not be disappointed in these delicious babies.  Bust.Out.The.Fat.Pants.!

King's Favorite Bars

For the Crust:
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Butter
1 Cup Flour

For the Filling:
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1 and 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla
2 Tablespoons Flour
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
2 Eggs, slightly beaten
1 Package Chocolate Chips (11-12 oz)
1 Cup Chopped Nuts (optional)

Step 1:  For the crust, add all ingredients to bowl and mix together well with a fork.  Pat dough into an ungreased 9x13 baking pan.  Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes.

Step 2:  For the filling, combine the brown sugar, vanilla and dry ingredients in a bowl and mix well.  Add eggs and mix well.

Step 3:  Pour above mixture over the crust;  sprinkle with chocolate chips and nuts.  Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Let cool before cutting.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Baked Oatmeal To Go

I have a love/hate relationship with oatmeal.  I love the flavor.  I hate the texture of it as a porridge or how it's traditionally prepared.  But I do love, love, love the flavor.  I love it in cake.  I love it in muffins.  I love it in crisps.  You get the picture :)  

And then I started seeing recipes for baked oatmeal . . .and it looked like muffins.  Hmmmm.  This peaked my interest.  I finally tried out a recipe and I LOVE THEM.  The texture is like a spongy muffin - and I'm good with that.   Super yummy, super moist, super delicious.

Baked Oatmeal To Go (Single Servings)
Yield:  12

2 Cups Oatmeal (Quick-Cook or Old Fashioned Oats)
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Chocolate Chips (or other "add-in" such as raisins, nuts etc . .whatever you like)
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Egg
1 and 1/2 Cups Milk
1/2 Cup Applesauce
2 Tablespoons Butter or Margarine, Melted

Step 1:  Preheat oven to 375° Fahrenheit.  Prepare muffin tin with liners.

Step 2:  In a large bowl, beat the egg and then add in the milk, applesauce and melted butter.  Stir to combine.

Step 3:  In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking powder.  Stir to combine.

Step 4:  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well.  The will be very wet!

Step 5:  Divide the mixture among the muffin tin liners.  An ice cream scoop works well for this.  Please note, each muffin liner will be nearly full to the top.

Step 6:  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until slightly beginning to brown around the edges. These will not puff-up like a muffin or cupcake.  

Let cool 10-15 minutes before eating.  To store, place in air-tight container and keep in fridge.  

Friday, February 7, 2014


Kolaches:  a Czech or Slavic pastry that is filled with a semi-sweet fruity filling.   
Also known as one of my favorite things.  My mom used to make them and use an apricot filling.  However, I decided to treat my husband and use an almond filling - and they turned out very rich and yummy.  I also made a few cream cheese/strawberry ones - which the teenager tends to prefer.  Give these a try, they are wicked good.  Although, you may think they look complicated - they really are not.  Rather, you do need a few hours to make them, but it is mostly wait-time for the dough to rise.


1  Cup Milk, room temp
10  Tablespoons  Butter, melted
1  large Egg
2  large Egg Yolks, whites reserved
3-1/2  Cups  Flour
1/3  Cup  Sugar
2-1/4  teaspoons  Rapid-Rise Yeast or instant yeast
1-1/2  teaspoons  Salt 

2 Cups Jam or Fruit Preserves

Streusel Topping:
2  Tablespoons -plus- 2 teaspoons  Flour
2  Tablespoons -plus- 2 teaspoons  Sugar
1  Tablespoon  Butter, chilled and cut into 8 pieces

Reserved Egg Whites, beaten with 1 Tablespoon Milk

For the Dough:
Step 1:  Grease a large bowl, set aside.

Step 2:  Whisk the milk, melted butter, egg and yolks together in a medium bowl.

Step 3:  In a mixer bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt together.  Fit mixer with the dough hook, add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and knead on low speed until no dry flour remains, about 2 minutes.  Increase the speed to medium and knead until dough clears the sides of the bowl but still sticks to the bottom of the bowl, about 8 to 12 minutes.  If the dough hasn't cleared the bowl after 12 minutes, add more a little more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time.  

Step 4:  Transfer the dough to greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Adjust the oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions.  Place dough on the lower-middle rack and place a loaf pan on the upper-middle rack.  Pour 3 cups of boiling water into loaf pan, close oven door, and let dough rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Step 5:  While the dough is rising, you can prepare your the streusel.  In a small bowl, combine the flour, sugar and butter stir/mash with a fork until the mixture resembles wet sand.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Step 6:  Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.

Step 7:  Remove the dough from the oven and punch it down.  Dump it out onto a lightly floured surface.  Then, divide the dough into 16 equal pieces.  The easiest way to do this is to cut the dough in half.  and then keep cutting each piece of dough in half until you've got 16 pieces.  Form each piece into a smooth, tight ball.  Arrange 8 balls on each baking sheet and cover loosely with plastic wrap.  Place the baking sheets in the oven, replace the water in the loaf pan with 3 fresh cups of boiling water, close the oven door and let them rise until doubled, about 90 minutes.

Step 8:  Remove the baking sheets and loaf pan from the oven.  Heat the oven to 350*.  Grease and flour the bottom of a 1/3 measuring cup (or a 2-1/4-inch-diameter drinking glass).  Make a deep indentation in the center of each dough ball by slowly pressing until the cup touches sheet.  The perimeter of the dough balls will deflate slightly.

Step 9:  Gently brush the Kolaches all over with the egg-milk mixture.

Step 10:  Place about 2 scant tablespoons of jam into the center of the dough and sprinkle with streusel.  Repeat this until all Kolaches have been filled and sprinkled with the streusel.

Step 11:  Bake for 10 minutes.  Then, rotate the pans and bake another 10 minutes, until they are golden brown.  Let cool enough to touch before serving.  Makes 16 Kolache.

To store them, place into an air-tight container and layer with wax paper between the Kolaches.  They should keep about a week.

Tips:  For a cream cheese and fruit filling, combine 1 cup of cream cheese and 1 cup of jam together.  For a less sweet filling, use jarred baby food (fruit).