Potato Bread

My Granny was a lover of all things bread, and passed this love of carbs onto me.

This recipe is from Cooking Light, March 2009.

I altered the recipe slightly, noted below.

potato bread 1

A little peek while the dough is rising.

Monday Morning Potato Rolls and Bread

1 c mashed cooked peeled baking potatoes (about 8 oz)
1 c fat free milk – I used 2%
3 tblsp honey
2 tblsp butter
21.4 oz bread flour (about 4 1/2 cups)
* I didn’t have bread flour, so I googled it and you can use all purpose as a subsitute.
2 1/2 tsp dry yeast
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
2 large eggs
1 tsp olive oil
Cooking Spray

Combine first four ingredients in a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave at HIGH for 2 minutes or until mixture is 110 degrees.  Stir with a whisk until smooth.

Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife.  Combine 6.75 oz (about 1 1/2 c) flour, yeast and salt in a large mixing bowl.  Add potato mixture, stirring with a fork until combined.  Add eggs; stir until combined.

Add 9 oz (about 2 c) flour to potato mixture; stir until a soft dough forms.  Turn dough out onto a floured surface.  Knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes); add enough of remaining 1/2 c flour, 1 tblsp at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will be sticky).

Place dough in a large bowl coated with olive oil, turning to coat top.  Cover and let rise in a warm place (85 degrees), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size.  (Gently press two fingers into dough.  If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.)  Punch dough down; cover and let rest 5 minutes.

Divide dough in half.  Working with one portion at a time (cover remaining dough to prevent drying), roll one portion into a 14×7 inch rectangle on a floured surface.  Roll up rectangle tightly, starting with a short edge, pressing firmly to eliminate air pockets; pinch seam and ends to seal.  Place loaf, seam side down, in an 8×4 inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray.

Divide remaining portion into 9 pieces and shape each into a ball.  Place balls in an 8 inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Coat top of loaf and rolls with cooking spray.  Cover and let rise in a warm place (85 degrees) free from drafts, 30 minutes or until doubled in size.  (Gently press two fingers into dough.  If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until tops of rolls are browned and loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.  Remove from pans; cool on wire racks.

potato bread 2

cartoon-strawberry-9Does anyone else have a cold kitchen?  The way I got this dough to rise was turning my oven on to 115 degrees, leaving the door open and letting the dough rise while sitting on the open oven door.  All together, this took a couple hours of my time, and the bread is wonderful.  Totally worth the effort.  Plus, I know exactly the ingredients used.

potato bread 3

Split Pea Soup

A friend of mine blogged about this recipe early in 2012, and I have made it probably ten times in the last year.  It’s that good.

Here are the original posts for this recipe – Picnics in the Park and In the Kitchen with Kath

split pea soup 1

Julia Child’s Split Pea Soup with Ham

Ham Stock
Meaty ham bone and scraps from a ham, or 1 or more ham hocks
3 quarts water
1 c chopped carrots
1 c chopped onions
1 c chopped celery
An herb bouquet: 3 bay leaves, 1 tsp thyme, 5 cloves tied in cheesecloth

Put all ingredients in a large stock pot and simmer, lid askew for 4 hours.

Strain the broth, discarding the ham and vegetables.  At this point you can make the soup, or you can refrigerate or freeze the stock to use later.

I like to make the broth the day before I make the soup.  I will also strain the fat off the top of the broth before using in the soup.

3 tblsp butter
2/3 c diced celery
2/3 c diced onions
1 c diced carrots
3 tblsp flour
2 quarts ham stock
1 1/2 c split peas
salt and pepper
Diced ham or croutons for garnish

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the celery, onions and carrots and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the flour and cook, stirring for 3 minutes.

Add the stock and split peas.  Simmer with lid askew for 45 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Use an immersion blender in the pot to blend the soup. – Alternatively, put some of the soup in a blender.  Fill the blender only half full and hold the lid on securely with a pot holder.

Serve with sauteed ham or croutons as a garnish.

split pea soup 2

cartoon-strawberry-9This is another favorite in our house and is perfect on a cold winter evening.  Add a little diced ham to your bowl and a warm roll on the side, nothing could be better.

Swedish Meatballs

Husband says it's easier to form balls if your fingers are damp. Keep a little bowl of water nearby for this purpose.

Husband says it’s easier to form balls if your fingers are damp. Keep a little bowl of water nearby for this purpose.

Have you had the meatballs at Ikea?  These meatballs are 10,000 times better than those.  And the recipe came from a Swede who grew up in Sweden.  You can’t get more authentic than that.

This is my mother in law’s recipe, she has told me most families in Sweden have their own version or technique, but I think her’s is the best.  And husband has learned to make these just like his mom.

This is a MUST for any holiday occasion at our house.

Fried in butter - YUM.

Fried in butter – YUM

Swedish Meatballs

2 to 3 lbs low fat ground beef (my subsitute 1 lb ground pork if desired)
1 c bread crumbs
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 c whole or 2% milk
2 tsp salt
1 tsp white pepper
1 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp celery seed
1 tblsp worcestershire sauce
1 tblsp sugar
equivalent of 1 medium onion (minced, grated, finely chopped, crushed dry or powdered)
Butter for frying

Soften bread crumbs in milk.  Add the eggs, meat and seasonings and mix well.  This is best done in an electric mixer.  We will prepare the mixture a few hours before frying so all the flavors have a chance to blend together.

Form into balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter.  Fry in melted butter until browned.  Pan may need to be shaken around, keeping balls rolling to keep their shape.

Serve immediately.  Or keep warm in a Crock-pot on low – in a baking dish in a 325 degree oven.

swedish meatballs 3

Cheese Tortellini with spinach, peas and brown butter

Husband was away on a business trip, and I was looking for a recipe that included tomatoes or mushrooms for me to try.  Have I mentioned he doesn’t like tomatoes or mushrooms?

This recipe is from Real Simple, September 2012.

I did not alter the recipe in any way.

cheese tortellini 1

Cheese Tortellini with spinach, peas and brown butter

1 lb fresh or frozen cheese tortellini
1 c frozen peas
4 tblsp unsalted butter
1 small bunch flat-leaf spinach, thick stems removed (about 6 cups)
1 medium beefsteak tomato
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 tblsp fresh lemon juice
kosher salt and black pepper

Cook the tortellini according to the package directions, adding the peas during the last minute of cooking.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, 2 to 3 minutes.  Add the spinach and tomato and cook, tossing occasionally, until the spinach is wilted and the tomato begins to soften, 4 to 5 minutes more.

Add the tortellini, peas, lemon zest and juice, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper to the skillet and toss to combine.

cheese tortellini 2

cartoon-strawberry-9I still haven’t perfected the brown butter technique, I think I should have cooked the butter just a little longer.  This was a wonderful dish, filling and light.  To make it a little more hearty, I would add a cup of shredded chicken and maybe saute some mushrooms before adding the spinach and tomatoes.

Cheesy Corn Puffs

I made these to go along with a soup and salad night.

This recipe is from Food Network Magazine, November 2011.

I altered the recipe slightly, noted below.

cheesy corn puffs

Cheesy Corn Puffs

1 cup canned cream-style corn
4 tblsp unsalted butter
1 tsp salt
1 3/4 c all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
1/2 c shredded pepper jack cheese, plus more for topping – I used Trader Joe’s 3 cheese blend (mozzarella/monterey jack/cheddar)
1 tblsp chopped fresh chives – I left this out

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line 2 backing sheets with parchment paper.  Bring the corn, butter and salt to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Reduce the heat to low, add the flower and stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture is smooth and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 2 minutes.

Scrape the dough into a bowl; let cool slightly.  Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring well between each addition.  Stir in the cheese and chives.  Chill the dough 15 minutes.

Scoop tablespoon size mounds of dough onto the prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart.  Sprinkle with more cheese.  Transfer to the over and bake until golden brown and puffy, 20 to 25 minutes.  Serve warm.

cartoon-strawberry-9I didn’t add the chives only because I didn’t have any on hand.  As you can see above, mine spread a little and weren’t very pretty, but tasted wonderful.  They were a good compliment to a soup and salad evening.

Scrambled Enchiladas

My sister is the inspiration for this recipe.  She said something about scrambled enchilada’s one time and the below recipe is what came to my mind.  It’s a favorite in our house.

Scrambled Enchiladas

11 oz package corn tortillas
12 oz enchilada sauce
4 oz can diced green chilis
15 oz can balck beans – rinsed
1 – 1 1/2 c shredded cheese, plus more for topping

Options for meat (use only one):
2 c shredded beef – from this recipe
2 13oz cans of diced chicken in water
2 c shredded rotisserie chicken

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Cut the tortillas into small strips and combine with all ingredients in a large bowl.

Transfer mixture to a 13×9 pan.

Sprinkle top with extra cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until bubbly.



This recipe is great with either chicken or shredded beef.  This could easily be made into a vegetarian dish with a can of diced tomatoes, a diced onion and a some diced zucchini.

Potsticker Soup

Growing up I had two favorites when my parents and I would go out for Chinese food.  Crispy egg rolls, and war wonton soup.  A couple years ago, Trader Joes had a recipe suggestion for their chicken potstickers to be used in a soup.  I took a simple recipe and altered it , my version of a war wonton soup.

Potsticker Soup

1 lb. package of chicken potsitckers – These come frozen at Trader Joes, be sure to thaw before you start this soup.
13 oz. can diced chicken in water – drained
9 oz. package of snap or sugar peas – rinsed and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 medium onion – chopped
1 heaping cup of carrots – I use Trader Joes matchstick carrots
8 cups of liquid
– generally I’ll use a carton of low sodium, nonfat chicken broth, approx. 4 cups, plus 4 cups of water.
– This time I used a turkey broth I made from the bones I had left over from Thanksgiving.

Seasonings – all to taste
Celery Seed
Ground Ginger
Chinese five spice powder
Minced garlic
Onion powder
Salt & Pepper

Heat your stock pot or dutch oven on med-high heat and add a touch of oil (I use grapeseed oil.) to cook the veggies.  Add the onions first and let cook for 2 to 3 minutes, then add the carrots and peas.  Season the veggies as they’re cooking to add depth of flavor to the soup.

When the onions have softened and your peas are a bright green (approx 3 minutes), add the chicken, potstickers and liquid.  Season soup again, cover and let sit until heated through.

As you can see, I added some shrimp to this go round.  I tossed to coat the shrimp with a blend of garlic powder, ground ginger, onion powder and Chinese five spice powder.  I cooked them on a med-low setting, turning a few times until pink.

This is soup is super easy and super yummy!  If only I could figure out how to make the BBQ pork that you get at Chinese restaurants, my soup would be complete!

Caramel Cake

I found another cookbook hiding in my office.  Hallelujah! The Welcome Table by Maya Angelou.  A memoir of her life and the accompanying recipes.  I decided to try her mothers Caramel Cake.

Caramel Cake

8 tblsp butter
1 1/4 c Sugar
1/4 c Caramel Syrup
2 c sifted all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 c milk
2 large eggs
Caramel Frosting

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line two 8 inch layer cake pans with greased wax paper. – I sprayed mine with Bakers Joy and skipped the wax paper.

In large mixing bowl, beat butter, and add 1 cup sugar gradually until light and fluffy.  Beat in syrup.

In medium mixing bowl, sift flour, baking powder and salt together.  Add sifted ingredients to creamed mixture, alternating with milk.

In separate medium mixing bowl, beat eggs about 3 minutes, until foamy.  Add remaining sugar, and beat until there is a fine spongy foam.  Stir into cake batter until blended.

Divide batter between cake pans.  Bake for about 25 minutes. Remove pans from oven.  Gently press center of cake with forefinger.  Cake should spring back when finger is removed.  If it doesn’t, return to oven for 10 minutes.  Cool in pans for 10 minutes.  Turn out onto rack, and remove wax paper.  Let cakes cook to room temperature before frosting.

To assemble: Center one cooled cake layer on cake plate.  Cover top and sides with generous helping of frosting.  Place second layer evenly on frosted layer.  Repeat frosting procedure.  Make certain that sides are completely frosted.  Cool in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Caramel Syrup

1 c white sugar
1 c boiling water

Heat sugar in a heavy skillet over low heat. Stir constantly until melted to a brown liquid. When it bubbles over entire surface, remove from heat. Slowly add boiling water, stirring constantly. Pour into container to cool.
I’m not sure how long I thought this would take, but just to melt down the sugar was at least a 40 minute process. If you decide to make this cake, I would make the caramel syrup in the morning and the cake in the afternoon.

Caramel Frosting

6 tblsp butter
8 oz package confectioners sugar
4 tblsp heavy cream
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Brown butter in heavy pot over medium heat – be vigilant or it will burn.  Allow butter to cool.  In large mixing bowl, add sugar, cream vanilla and salt to the butter, and beat until smooth.  If frosting is too stiff, add tblsp of half and half or cream to thin.

This cake was baked for a special birthday, and we all LOVED it.  It’s time consuming, but well worth the effort.

Santa’s Whiskers

Today’s post is a part of Leanne Penny‘s online Christmas Cookie Exchange!

Growing up, we didn’t keep cookies or sweets on hand, but at Christmas, my mom would fill the cookie jar.  Lemon bars, peanut butter blossoms, and my favorite – Santa’s Whiskers.  A rich buttery shortbread with bits of candied cherries and pecans, rolled in coconut (hence the whiskers…).

Santas Whiskers 1

Santa’s Whiskers

1 c butter, softened
1 c sugar
2 tblsp milk
1 tsp vanilla or rum extract
2 1/2 c all-purpose flour
3/4 c chopped red (or green) candied cherries
1/2 c finely chopped pecans
3/4 c flaked coconut

Cream together butter and sugar until smooth; then add the milk and vanilla extract.  Mix in flour, cherries and pecans.

Form dough into two 8 inch logs.  Roll in flaked coconut to coat outside.  Wrap in waxed paper or plastic wrap and chill thoroughly.

Once dough has chilled, preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Cut dough into 1/4 inch slices and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake till edges are golden, about 12 minutes.

santas whiskers 2

cartoon-strawberry-9I’m not sure of the origins of this recipe, but Christmas just isn’t Christmas without these cookies.

Four Cheese Scalloped Potatoes

I signed up to bring potatoes to an early Thanksgiving dinner, and wanted to try these out.

This recipe is from Food Network Magazine, April 2011.

I altered the recipe slightly, noted below.

Four Cheese Scalloped Potatoes

1 1/2 tblsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for brushing
1/2 clove garlic
1/3 c shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 c shredded asiago cheese
1/3 c shredded raclette or comte cheese – I used my favorite parm/asiago blend from Trader Joes
2 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/8 inch thick
2 c heavy cream
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
4 fresh bay leaves – I used dried
1/4 c grated parmesan cheese

Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees.  Generously brush a large skillet with butter, then rub with the garlic.  Combine the mozzarella, asiago and raclette in a bowl.

Heat the skillet over med-high heat.  Add half of the potatoes, spreading them out.  Sprinkle with 3/4 tsp salt, half of the cut-up butter, half of the shredded cheese blend and pepper to taste.  Arrange the remaining potatoes on top.  Sprinkle with 3/4 tsp salt and pepper to taste.  Pour the cream over the potatoes, then add the nutmeg and bay leaves; simmer 3 minutes.  Dot the potatoes with the remaining butter.

Generously brush a shallow baking dish with butter; slide the potatoes into the dish; arrange with a fork if desired. (If your skillet is ovenproof, you can skip this step and bake the potatoes in the skillet.)
*Sliding the potatoes from the skillet to the baking dish wasn’t easy. I would use a spoon or spatula to transfer next time.

Sprinkle the potatoes with the parmesan and the remaining shredded cheese blend.  Bake until golden, about 25 minutes.  Let rest 5 minutes before serving.  Discard the bay leaves.

These were some serious scalloped potatoes.  Heavy cream, full fat cheese, butter – makes me drool thinking about it.  Everybody loved them and I came home with an empty pan.