Monday, March 30, 2015

Carrot Pineapple Coconut Muffins

Don't set carrots out for the Easter Bunny! He would MUCH rather have these carrot muffins! I don't create many of my own recipes, but this one is mine. :) It is my muffin version of carrot cake. They are not overly sweet, but my kids love them and I feel good about serving them as a snack. You can leave out the coconut if you prefer it without. My husband doesn't like coconut, but he wants me to add raisins next time, so I'll probably give it a try with those. I also made a few mini muffins with this batter, and they worked well too.

Carrot Pineapple Coconut Muffins
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsps cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup sweetened coconut flakes (optional)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
8 oz can crushed pineapple in juice, undrained
1 cup grated carrots, loosely packed

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease muffin tins or line with paper muffin cups.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and coconut.
3. In a medium bowl, add the butter, egg, vanilla, buttermilk, pineapple, and carrots. Stir to combine.
4. Pour carrot mixture into the flour mixture. Stir just until everything is blended.
5. Using a large scoop (about 1/4 cup), scoop batter into the prepared muffin tin.
6. Bake for 20-22 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the tops of the muffins spring back when lightly pressed. Let cool in pan 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack.

Makes about 18 muffins.

For mini muffins bake at 375 degrees F for 10-12 minutes.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Tuna Fish Gravy

Let's be honest. I think this is kinda gross. My husband, on the other hand, loves it! So consider this his guest post. As long as you've got tuna in the pantry and a loaf of bread, you can make this for dinner...if you really want to. :) This was made with 1 can of tuna, but if you like it more meaty, then use 2.

Tuna Fish Gravy
dedicated to Gavin
1 can of tuna, drained
3 TBSPs butter or margarine
1/4 cup flour
3 cups milk
1/2 tsp salt
Pepper to taste

1. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour until thick and bubbly. Slowly whisk in milk. Continue to whisk until it starts to simmer and reaches desired thickness. Add tuna and salt and mix together.
2. Serve on buttered toast. Top with pepper...and sweet pickles, if you are my husband.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Brunch Party Food

I helped with the food at a friend's baby shower over the weekend. I tried a few new ideas and recipes and they all turned out amazing, if I do say so myself. :) I wanted to share them all together in one post. The recipes are posted separately and you can find links to them below the pictures. Most of the things I made were bite sized or in cute glasses because little finger foods are so fun!

 Mini Quiches - I made them ahead of time froze them!

Yogurt Parfaits - No recipe needed. Layer yogurt, granola, and berries in a glass. These are disposable wine glasses from Dollar Tree (6 or $1). The yogurt I used was ZOI Greek honey flavored that I bought at Winco. I tried 3 different kinds and liked this best. I made these gluten free with KIND granola.

French Toast Sticks - These were so cute! The sticks are in 2 oz. disposable shot glasses from Party City. Pretty heavy duty plastic too. I actually washed and kept them. I squirted a little syrup in the bottom, and had extra sticks on the side.

We also had Sausage and Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole (gluten free), bagels, and fruit. It all was so good! There might have been some Snickers cupcakes involved as well, which will be posted soon. :)

Mini Quiches

Here's another brunch recipe that I made over the weekend. You can put whatever you like in these! The quiches pictured are half spinach and half bacon. These also work really well if you make them ahead of time and freeze them for later use.

Mini Quiches
1 pkg refrigerated pie crust dough (2 rolls)
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups half and half
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
Shredded cheese and other desired toppings e.g. cooked crumbled bacon, spinach, ham, green onion.

1. Remove pie crust from refrigerator and let sit at room temperature while you prepare the filling. Spray 48 mini muffin cups with non stick spray. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, half and half, salt, and pepper.
3. Unroll 1 pie crust. Using a 2 1/2 inch round cookie or biscuit cutter, cut as many circles as possible. Collect leftover dough and roll out and continue to cut out circles. Repeat with 2nd pie crust. You should be able to get 48 circles. Press circles into mini muffin cups.
4. Put a pinch of cheese and other desired toppings into each muffin cup. Pour egg mixture into each cup, being careful not to overfill.
5. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until filling is puffed and pastry is golden. Remove from oven. Cool in pan for a few minutes, then carefully remove to a wire rack. Serve warm.

You can also make these mini quiches ahead of time! Bake them as directed above, then let them cool completely. Place them on a cookie sheet and put them in the freezer for an hour. Remove them and put them in a freezer bag and return to freezer. Then when ready to use, bake them at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes until heated through.

French Toast Sticks

Yum! These are so good! Perfect for kids, or a breakfast/brunch. They make for a pretty presentation. I came up with this version of french toast based on my Orange French Toast recipe. I made these for a baby shower and I wanted to do them ahead of time, so I prepared them 2 days in advance. I froze them, and then baked them straight from the freezer just before serving. They turned out great! No soggy french toast with this method! I found some day old sliced brioche bread at a nearby bakery outlet and knew it would be awesome as french toast. It didn't disappoint! I served them in 2oz disposable shot glasses (that I bought at Party City) with a squirt of syrup at the bottom. So cute!

French Toast Sticks
3 eggs
1 cup milk
2 TBSPs sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp allspice
dash of salt
8-10 slices bread (thick Texas Style or a bakery bread like Brioche)
1/3 cup butter, or margarine, melted

1. Slice bread into sticks about 1 inch wide. See pic below.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, allspice, and salt. Dip each stick of bread in the egg mixture; place on greased cookie sheet. Cover lightly with foil, and then freeze for 1-2 hours or until completely frozen. To store, remove from freezer and place in freezer bag. Return to freezer.
3. To serve, heat the oven to 425° F. Remove the desired number of sticks from the freezer. Brush one side of each stick with melted butter. Place butter-side down on an ungreased cookie sheet; bake for 8-10 minutes, until bottom side just starts to turn golden. Brush top with butter then turn. Bake an additional 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown.

Serve warm with syrup. Makes about 40 sticks

If you don't want to freeze and bake them, just cook them on the stove top in a greased frying pan after dipping until golden on each side.

I got 5 sticks from this brioche bread, but a regular sized slice will give you 4.

Love this bread too. I buy this from Winco.

Egg Mixture

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Chicken and Dumplings

Can't get much better than this classic comfort food! Everyone should have a chicken and dumplings recipe to pull out during the winter. Especially my Texas friends during snowstorms. :) This is my sister Leann's recipe. We had it for dinner a couple of weeks ago. I loved it, and ended up eating it for lunch and a leftover dinner. A couple of my family members couldn't get over the dumpling texture. These dumplings (like most chicken and dumpling recipes) are made from dough dropped directly into the boiling soup. The soup cooks the dough leaving it moist on the outside and bread-like on the inside (see close up pic below). And by the way, this is my 100th main dish post! Hope you've been able to find some recipes for fantastic meals!

Chicken and Dumplings
Leann Crook
5 chicken leg quarters or 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used leg quarters)
4 cans (14.5 oz ea) chicken broth
2 cups water
2–3 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 large onion, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup milk
1 can cream of chicken soup
3 cups Bisquick or other biscuit mix
1 cup milk

1. In large pot combine chicken, chicken broth, 2 cups water, carrots, celery, onion, salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning. Boil 30–40 min or until chicken is cooked.
2. Remove chicken and shred. Return shredded chicken to pot. Return soup to a boil.
3. In small bowl combine flour and ½ cup milk. Add to boiling soup. Add cream of chicken soup. Bring back to a simmer and stir 4-5 minutes until soup is slightly thickened.
4. In separate bowl combine Bisquick and 1 cup milk. Drop by spoonfuls into boiling soup. Boil 10–12 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep chicken from sticking to bottom of pan.
5. Serve hot with salt and pepper to taste. Makes 6-8 servings.

Up close with a dumpling.

I love this! It saves me lots of time when chopping veggies!