Thursday, May 14, 2015

Rand's Pretzels

Rand LOVES pretzels and sometimes we make them in the morning while everyone is gone. Here is our favorite recipe.....

3 cups flour
1 pkg or 1 TB yeast
1 TB sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup warm water (115-125 degrees)
3 TB vegetable oil

2 TB baking soda

2 TB coarse salt

In mixer, attach bread hook. Stir together flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Add water and oil. Mix/knead until ball forms and dough clings to hook and sides of bowl are clean. (5-10 mins, you may need to add a scant amount of water or flour)

Remove ball and place in a greased bowl. Flip ball over so greased side is up. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit about 45 mins, or until doubled in size.

Remove ball to clean work surface and poke down. Cut into 10 equal pieces. Spray a few cookie sheets with non-stick spray.

Roll each piece into 20 inch strips. Keep other pieces covered with plastic wrap while working (unless you're super fast). Form into pretzels and place back onto cookie sheets. Cover again with plastic wrap (or a kitchen towel). Let rise about a half hour.

Preheat oven to 450.

Fill a large pan (8qt) about 2/3rds full of water and bring to a rolling boil. Add 2TB baking soda. Carefully with a  slotted spoon, boil pretzels 30 seconds on each side. Return them to baking sheet about 2" apart. Sprinkle with salt (or leave plain).

Bake about 15 minutes, until golden brown.

Eat warm. We like to brush with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. 

*This only makes 10 pretzels. Trust me, you'll want more. I double it when I want enough for the whole family.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Salted Caramel Corn with Pecans and Dark chocolate

About 16 cups popped popcorn (about 3/4 - 1 cup unpopped)
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
2/3 cup butter
6 TB corn syrup
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp vanilla

3/4 - 1 cup toasted chopped pecans (I toast my pecans by just putting them in a non-stick skillet and tossing them over high heat for a few mins. be careful not to burn them though!!)
2 tsp coarse sea salt
1 1/2 cups ghiradelli dark chocolate melting wafers

Place popcorn in a large baking pan (I use my turkey pan). Keep popcorn warm in oven set to 300 while making caramel mixture.

In a 3qt saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup. Cook and stir over medium heat until boiling. Attach candy thermometer. Cook and stir over medium heat to hard ball stage (255 degrees). Remove from heat, stir in soda and vanilla; pour over popcorn. Stir gently while sprinkling in the pecans and sea salt. Once coated, bake in oven for 15 minutes; stir. Bake and additional 10 minutes or so.

Transfer popcorn mixture to large piece of foil, wax paper, or parchment (I tape a few pieces to the counter). Spread it out, breaking apart the big pieces and let it cool while you melt the chocolate. Drizzle with chocolate. Once cool, break it up and store in air-tight container (ziploc bags are fine).

**This recipe makes a LOT because I make it for my large family. Definitely can be halved and probably should be if you're watching your waistline.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Louisiana Mushroom Pot Pie

1 pound ground turkey
4 T butter
1 small onion, diced
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup frozen peas
1 can mushrooms
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Cajun seasoning (I use Louisiana)
2, pie crusts

Brown turkey with some Cajun seasoning.

Saute onions and carrots in butter until translucent. Add peas, mushrooms, soup, sour cream, milk and some Cajun seasoning and stir well until heated through.

Pour ground turkey into prepared pie crust. Top with shredded cheese. Pour vegetable mixture over top. Top with 2nd pie crust. Cut slits in the top.

Bake at 350° for about 45 minutes or until golden brown.

I highly recommend using the Pioneer woman's thyme pie crust recipe with this. However, if you do, you may only want crust on top as it's very thick.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Gingerbread Cookies

How cute are THESE??? Normally we do gingerbread men, but a few years ago I found this cookie cutter in a clearance bin at the grocery store post-season and decided it needed to be broken in.

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup molasses
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (optional)

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves until well blended. In a large bowl (KitchenAid's great for this) beat butter, brown sugar, and egg on medium speed until well blended. Add molasses, vanilla, and lemon zest and continue to mix until well blended. Gradually stir in dry ingredients until blended and smooth.
Divide dough in half and wrap each half in plastic and let stand at room temperature for at least 2 hours or up to 8 hours. (Dough can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, but in this case it should be refrigerated. Return to room temp before using.)
Preheat oven to 375 deg. Prepare baking sheets by lining with parchment paper.
Place 1 portion of the dough on a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle flour over dough and rolling pin. Roll dough to a scant 1/4-inch thick. Use additional flour to avoid sticking. Cut out cookies with desired cutter-- the ginger bread man is our favorite of course, or Christmas trees.
Space cookies 1 1/2-inches apart.
Bake 1 sheet at a time for 7-10 minutes (the lower time will give you softer cookies-- very good!). 
Remove cookie sheet from oven and allow the cookies to stand until the cookies are firm enough to move to a wire rack. If using cookies to build a little house, you must RE-CUT the cookie straight from the oven. Since the cookie expands slightly while baking, you will have rounded edges, so re-cut using the cookie cutter, or knife if building your own house immediately while hot. My kids favorite thing is to eat the scraps from the hot cookies. I just toss them on the bar and they magically disappear.

The photo of the trees was my first attempt at using the flooding technique. Here is a great tutorial on how to flood your cookies with royal icing. Hopefully your turn out a little better than mine.

Royal Icing recipe:

1 lb or 1 box of powdered sugar
5 TB meringue powder
1 scant 1/2 cup cold water

Beat all together to desired consistency. For the houses, I used thicker sticky icing and for the trees a little runnier so I could flood the cookies.

Thursday, December 26, 2013


2 cups white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup corn syrup
1 cup evaporated milk
1 pint (4 cups) heavy whipping cream
1 cup butter (salted, if you use unsalted add 1/4 tsp salt to recipe)
1 1/4 tsp vanilla

Grease a 12x15 inch pan with some butter (a smaller pan will simply give you thicker caramels)

In a medium-sized pot, combine all ingredients, except vanilla, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Monitor heat with a candy thermometer. When temperature reaches 234 degrees (250 for chewier caramels), remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

Cool, cut into desired sized squares and wrap in wax paper or parchment.

Tips for caramel making:
  • Make sure you have about an hour of uninterrupted time. You need to watch that thermometer because it can jump up fast.
  • Stir the caramel frequently, constantly if you prefer.
  • Please note that the mixture will double in size when coming up to heat, so make sure your pot is big enough.
  • A tall skinny pot is better to use than and short wide pot, as this can leading to scorching on the bottom.

Cole Slaw

1 16 bag of cole slaw mix
2/3 cup light mayo
1/4 cup sugar
3 Tb milk
2 Tb vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Mix all ingredients. Serve.

It's that simple :) I make this when my husband smoks a pork butt because it's delicious with pulled pork.

Roasted Broccoli

We love broccoli in this house and this was an instant favorite.

4 to 5 pounds broccoli
4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted (put pine nuts in a small skillet and toast on the stove)
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons julienned fresh basil leaves (about 12 leaves)


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Cut the broccoli florets from the thick stalks, leaving an inch or two of stalk attached to the florets, discarding the rest of the stalks. Cut the larger pieces through the base of the head with a small knife, pulling the florets apart (you can skip all of this by using the huge bag of broccoli from Costco). You should have about 8 cups of florets. Place the broccoli florets on a sheet pan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Toss the garlic on the broccoli and drizzle with 5 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until crisp-tender and the tips of some of the florets are browned.

Remove the broccoli from the oven and immediately toss with 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, the lemon zest, lemon juice, pine nuts, Parmesan, and basil. Serve hot.
Recipe from the Food Network.