Saturday, August 31, 2013

Spinach Dip Pull Apart Bread

I was looking for a fun appetizer to take to a friends house last weekend and was really wanting a spinach dip type recipe. I have been wanting to make a sourdough bread pull recipe for awhile now and decided I would mix the two. I didn't find any recipes for the spinach dip sourdough bread pulls so I just kind of winged it with a recipe I found from Pillsbury. It came out soooo good. It was gone really fast and everyone said how good it was. I think I will be making the bread pulls in many different flavors. It is such a pretty dish to bring somewhere. I saw a recipe for a cinnamon roll one...I think that will be my next one!

Spinach Dip Pull Apart Bread
Adapted from Pillsbury 

1 loaf sourdough bread
1 stick butter, melted
1 9oz box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
8oz block mozzarella cheese, cut into thin slices
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 8oz package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut sourghdough bread in both directions, but taking care not to cut all the way through.

Stuff mozzarella cheese slices in all the cuts in the bread.

In a large bowl in mix spinach, parmesan cheese, cream cheese, mayonnaise, garlic salt and pepper. Spoon into cuts in the bread.

Pour melted butter all over bread.

Wrap bread in foil and bake for 15 minutes. Unwrap and bake an additional 10 minutes.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Southern Fried Chicken

Cookbook Recipe #62 

I feel like this blog helps me to make things that I have always said I would make one day. Homemade fried chicken is one of those things. I see so many recipes for real fried chicken and I always think I shouldn't make that cause

we are trying to eat better or that it looks sooo messy. I decided to through all those thoughts out the window and go for it. I thought this cookbook would have the perfect recipe to because it is a cast iron cookbook. Whenever you see people cooking fried chicken it is always in some 100 year old cast iron skillet. My cast iron skillet is not a 100 years old but it does this trick. I have to start seasoning it. Let me tell you this was a great recipe to season it!

The chicken came out good, not as good as I was hoping. I missed the step of seasoning the buttermilk in the recipe (I included that step in the bottom). I make oven fried chicken a lot and I never season the buttermilk so I didn't really look at that part of the recipe very well when I was doing it. That is one thing I still really need to learn. I need to read the entire recipe a day before I am going to make it. This was not messy at all to make. I was quite surprised. And very easy. Next time though I think I am going to try to brine the chicken instead of soaking in buttermilk. I think that will bring out the seasoning even more.

Southern Fried Chicken
Adapted from Cast Iron Cookbook by Joanna Pruess

1 whole chicken cut up into 8 pieces
2 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons Tabasco
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons dried tarragon, thyme, and garlic powder
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon salt,
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Vegetable oil for frying

In a large resealable plastic bag combine chicken, buttermilk, Tabasco, salt, garlic powder, tarragon and thyme. Refrigerate overnight or for at least 8 hours. Turning the bag occasionally.

Turn oven on the 200 degrees. Put a wire rack on a baking sheet. Set aside.

Combine the flour, 1 tablespoon paprika, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper in a large shallow dish.

Drain chicken in a colander.

In a large cast iron skillet fill with oil about 1/2 inch deep and heat until hot. When a little flour sprinkled in the oil foams, the the oil hot enough.

Toss chicken pieces in the seasoned flour, patting to remove excess. Gradually add to skillet, do not crown the pan. Add dark pieces first. Cook until golden brown about 10 minutes and then turn and cook other side until golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer chicken pieces baking sheet and put in oven while finishing the rest of the chicken.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Boston Baked Beans Brennan

Cookbook Recipe #61

I got this cookbook while Phil and I were on a trip to Vegas. We decided to take a day trip to go see the Grand Canyon as neither of us had ever been there. We took a tour bus there as we did not have a car on the trip and on the way they stopped at a restaurant and gift shop for a lunch. In the gift shop they had this cookbook. I always like to try to find a cookbook while I am on vacation as I like to bring home some of the local flavors. I thought this book was perfect for the west. It is chalk full of home cooked cowboy favorites and stories of the wild west.

My Dad and brother Daniel were visiting last weekend and I decided to make a ham and wanted a fun side to go with it. I knew we did not have plans for Sunday so I thought I would finally be able to make from scratch baked beans. They take a long time in the oven so it is hard to do unless you are home all day. They were super easy to make and came out great. I made some additions to the recipe as I like my beans sweet. I added some ketchup and brown sugar. I would probably add even more next time as I would have liked them a little sweeter. Sorry for the picture, I completely forgot to take the picture while they were still in the pot so I had to take leftovers to take this pic.

Boston Baked Beans Brennan
Adapted from The All American Cowboy Cookbook

1 pound dry Great Northern Beans, soaked overnight
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
4 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup molasses
1 teaspoon mustard
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup ketchup

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Cook beans in water with baking soda for 10 minutes over medium low heat. Drain and rinse.

In a large dutch oven mix beans, bacon, molasses, mustard, garlic powder, salt and pepper.

Add enough water to barely cover the beans. Bake for 6 hours.

Checking every hour or 2 and adding more water if necessary.

With one hour remaining add the brown sugar and ketchup. Mix well and finish baking.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Baked Potato Soup

Cookbook Recipe #60

This is a really good Southern Living Cookbook because it has a lot of pictures which I really like when I am looking through cookbooks. The Southern Living Annual Recipe books do not have very many pictures in them. Although those are some of my favorite books. A lot of times though when I see a picture of a recipe I want to make it more then when there is not a picture. I am assuming this is most people though!

I was having a craving for a baked potato soup. I knew I needed to find a cookbook recipe for the week so I was pouring through all my cookbooks to find a baked potato soup recipe. Since I have used most of my soup cookbooks already it took me a bit to find one, but I found one in this cookbook. I love this soup because it is so quick to make, well depending on how you do the potatoes. The potatoes are supposed to be baked, I didn't want to wait over an hour to bake potatoes so I just cooked them in the microwave. So should I call the recipe Microwave Potato Soup?

I cut this recipe in half because it seemed like it was going to make way to much. Another change I made was I swapped out buttermilk for milk. I had some buttermilk in the fridge that was going to go bad soon so I thought it would be a good addition. I also added sour cream. Gotta have sour cream with baked potato soup. This is one of my favorite soups now. I know I have made one before on here, but I didn't like the picture that came out with it. This one looks much more appetizing!

Baked Potato Soup
Adapted from Southern Living Cookbook

4 medium russet potatoes, baked or microwaved
2 tablespoons butter
1/6 cup flour
2 cups fat free half and half
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup fat free sour cream
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
5 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

Peel potatoes and mash with a fork. Set aside.

Melt butter in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add flour and stir until smooth.

Stir in potatoes, half and half, buttermilk, sour cream, salt, pepper, and most of the bacon.

Cook over low heat until thick and smooth.

Top each serving with cheese and bacon.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Red Velvet Whoopee Pies

Cookbook Recipe #59

I have been wanting to make whoopee pies for awhile now. I bought whoopee pie pans last year with the intention of making them. Yeeaaa it never happened. Phil and I were going over to a friends house last weekend and I was looking for something to make for dessert that didn't have to go in the oven or stay frozen because we had to travel a bit. I thought, I will finally make whoopee pies. I came across these red velvet whoopee pies in Paula Deen's cookbook. I love anything red velvet so I thought they would be perfect. I had never had a whoopee pie so I didn't know what they were supposed to taste like. They came out pretty good. I thought the cream filling would be sweeter then it was, but they were still good. They were a lot easier then I thought as well, which is always nice for a dessert.

Cousin Johnnie's Red Velvet Whoopee Pies
Recipe from The Deen Family Cookbook by Paula Deen


3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups canola oil
1 teaspoon white vinegar
One 1 ounce bottle red food coloring
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk


5 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
8 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly grease whoopee pie pans, or cookie sheet.

Sift flour, baking soda, and cocoa together.

In another bowl combine oil, vinegar, food coloring and vanilla.

In an electric mixer beat the sugar and eggs together until they turn pale and double in volume. Add the oil mixture and mix to combine. Add the flour mixture and buttermilk alternately in five small additions, starting and ending with flour.

Drop the batter by tablespoons onto whoopee pie pans or cookie sheets. This will make 48 cookies.

Bake 12 minutes and transfer immediately to cooking racks.

For the filling put flour into medium saucepan and slowly add milk. Whisk until smooth. Turn to medium heat and cook stirring constantly with a whisk until very thick. Cool completely.

Mix together sugar, butter, shortening and vanilla in an electric mixer. Add flour mixture and whip until fluffy.

Spread onto cookie and top with another cookie. Continue until all cookies are done.

Store in refrigerator


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Double Streusel Blueberry Coffee Cake

Cookbook recipe #58

You know those recipes where as you are making them they look all wrong the whole time, then they come out great? This is one of those recipes. I have never made a coffee cake before so I did not know what to expect. The dough in the recipe gets really really thick and seems all wrong as your making it. But it came out really good so sometimes I have learned to just go with it and wait and see if it comes out. This time my instinct was right. The only thing I changed about the recipe was that I added blueberries. They are still on sale for good prices here so I had some in the fridge I needed to use up. This recipe was super easy as you just use Bisquick baking mix. It literally took no time at all to make. My kind of baking!

Double Streusel Blueberry Coffee Cake
Adapted from Best of Betty Crocker 2010


2/3 cup Original Bisquick mix
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons cold butter

Coffee Cake

2 cups original Bisquick mix
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 egg
1 cup fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Spray and 9 inch round cake pan with cooking spray.

Make the streusel in a small bowl by mixing all but the butter. Then cut in the butter with a pastry blender until crumbly. Set aside. 

Next mix all the ingredients for the coffee cake in a large bowl. 

Spread half of batter in pan. Then top with half the blueberries. Then top with half of the struesel. Then repeat with the rest. 

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand 30 minutes before serving.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Country Fried Steak

Cookbook Recipe #57

Country Fried Steak is probably in my top five favorite dishes. For some reason you do not see it on menus very many places around here in Illinois. Not sure why. It was everywhere on menus in Iowa where I grew up. I ordered it all the time.

I found this recipe in the Cooking Light Comfort Food Cookbook. This is a great cookbook! I am always trying to find lighter versions of my favorites. As many of you know, I love comfort food. So if I can find a less caloric version, I want to try it. I have always liked recipes from Cooking Light. Most times they do not taste like you are using lighter ingredients. So I thought this recipe would be great as well.

As much as I love this dish you would think I would have this great recipe for it that I have mastered and make all the time, right? Well that is not the case. I have tried several recipes and every time I do something to sabotage it. Usually I over cook it. This recipe seemed easy enough and yet I still overcooked it. I think I am always afraid of under cooking so I overcooked. I am sure if I followed this recipe time it would have came out fine, but I left it on a little longer than I should have. It was still good, but not the same. So if you make this recipe, follow the time exactly! The gravy was really good, although my Mom would not approve...(sssshhh, it was from a package)! The recipe called to use a mushroom gravy because it it from Cooking Light. I was okay with making the steak part light, but the way. Hopefully if you guys make this it turns out better for you!

Country Fried Steak
Adapted from Cooking Light Comfort Food

3 tablespoons fat free milk
2 large egg whites
1/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 sirloin cubed steaks
2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1 package country style gravy

Combine milk and egg whites in a shallow dish with a whisk.

In another shallow dish combine flour, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.

Starting with one steak dip in egg mixture, then flour mixture. Repeat with the rest of the steaks.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Cook steaks 3 minutes on each side or until browned.

Remove steaks from pan and keep warm.

Make gravy according to package directions.

Serve over steaks.