Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Donut Casserole

Four Boys to feed and only three Donuts left??? Casserole it is!

3 - 4 inch glazed donuts (These are fantastic but you can use store bought*)
1 cup blueberries
6 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk(milk-dairy or non-dairy is fine too)
2 tsp vanilla
1-2 tsp sugar(to taste)
1/2 tsp cinnamon

*I really think there are tons of donut possibilities so don't limit it to only using plain glazed....A Maple Bar would be fantastic in this too!)

Preheat oven to 350

Slice your donuts into bite sized pieces and place in a greased 9 x 9 baking dish
Sprinkle the blueberries over the donuts

Whisk eggs with buttermilk, vanilla, sugar and cinnamon.

Pour egg mixture over the donuts and blueberries, toss gently to coat evenly.

Bake for 35-45 minutes until the eggs are well set. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and a touch of maple syrup

Allow to set 5 minutes before serving.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Mango Peach Sweet Tea Vodka

I made this for a little get together. A tasty drink on a hot day!

Vodka Tea:

750ml bottle (80 plus proof)vodka
8 bags of "Trader Joe's Specialty Teas" Mango Black Tea

Peach-Mango Simple Syrup:

3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
2 ripe peaches, diced and  well mashed(I mashed almost to puree consistency)
1/2 smallish mango, diced and mashed(again almost to puree)

Slit open the tea bags and pour contents into a bowl.
SLOWLY funnel the tea directly into the vodka bottle.....SLOW or it will jam up.

Re-cap and gently invert to get the tea mixed in well. Allow to steep 15-18 hours....tasting to get to your tea strength preference.

Slowly pour the vodka through a coffee filter to strain out the tea leaves and particles.

Simple Syrup:
Heat the water and sugar over medium heat until the sugar is totally dissolved and begins to thicken slightly.
Add mashed peaches and mango. Simmer 3 minutes then remove from heat and allow to steep for 4-6 hours. When it is completely cool pour through a mesh sieve to remove the solids....I like to press the solids a little to get out as much of the flavor as possible.

Combine syrup with the vodka and mix well.

I rinsed out the vodka bottle to make sure there was no stray tea in there, then funneled it back into the bottle. It wont all fit because of the addition of simple syrup so I just stuck the remainder in a mason jar.

Chill thoroughly and serve on the rocks or my personal preference, mixed with some club soda to give it a refreshing fizz.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Orange Beef Stew with Black Pepper & Orange Dumplings

I actually made this last week but forgot to hit the publish button! It was a very tasty stew. Even better the next day(all stews are in my opinion!)

2lbs beef, cubed
1/2 cup corn or potato starch(flour is ok too)
salt and pepper to taste

2 TB butter
2 TB olive oil

Juice of 2 large oranges(about 1 cup)

1 medium onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 red pepper, sliced
2 large carrots, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups beef broth
1 cup fresh green beans, cut(frozen are fine, no canned though)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 TB orange zest
1 bay leaf
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp cloves
salt and pepper to taste

In a bag or large lidded bowl combine cubed beef , starch and salt/pepper. Shake well to coat evenly.

Over medium high heat butter and olive oil in a large deep skillet. Add meat and sear evenly on all sides(you may need to to this in batches depending on your skillet size.)

Remove meat and place in slow cooker
To the pan add the orange juice to deglaze the pan, heat and stir/scrape until all the chunks are up off the pan.

Add orange juice and all the remaining ingredients to the slow cooker, add just enough water so that all the ingredients are submerged. Cook on low 6-8 hours, high 4-6

About 45 minutes before you want to serve, do the dumplings

1/2 cup sorghum flour*
1/2 cup potato starch*
1/2 tsp xanthan gum*
1 TB sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
3 TB butter, softened
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
1 TB orange zest
1 TB coarse ground black pepper(start with 1/2 or less if you only have fine ground)

* replace these with 1 cup all purpose flour if you dont want GF

Combine the dry ingredients and mix well, cut in butter until it resembles pea gravel,

add milk, egg, zest and pepper and mix well.

Drop healthy spoonfuls of dumpling batter directly on to the hot liquid.

Cover and cook for 20 minutes. Uncover and cook 10 minutes more. Scoop and serve!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Cheesy Jambalaya Pasta

My husband suggested Jambalaya for dinner, I decided to take the flavors of Jambalaya and put them into a pasta casserole type dish!

16oz penne pasta

8 oz sausage(smoked, andouille, linguiƧa, chorizo....your choice)
1/2 medium sweet onion, chopped
1 small green bell pepper, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz chicken breast, cooked and shredded
2 cups tomatoes, peeled and diced( about 1-14.5 oz can , drained)
1 TB creole or cajun seasoning (there are small variations in the 2, you pick your flavor preference)
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour*
2 cups milk
8 oz pepper jack cheese, shredded

*sub 3 TB corn or potato starch for gluten free, whisked straight into cold milk

Cook pasta to al dente, drain(I use GF pasta and I prefer to rinse it, you can if you like too)

While the pasta is cooking , slice up the sausage into bite sized pieces, then in a deep pan over medium high heat cook the sausage with onion, garlic, celery and pepper. Cook until the veggies are tender and fragrant.

Add tomatoes, chicken and seasoning and turn to a low simmer.

In a saucepan heat butter over medium heat, add flour and stir into a thick paste. Slowly whisk in milk, stir and heat until thickened then add pepper jack and stir until melted.

In a lightly greased 9 x 13 casserole mix pasta, meat mixture and cheese mixture.

Mix well. I squirted on some hot sauce.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes until hot and bubbly.

Monday, July 7, 2014

BBQ Black Bean Quesadilla Pizza

Time for another unique pizza!

Quesadilla Crust:

3 cups Corn Masa
1 3/4 cups water
1 tsp salt

3 oz shredded cheddar
3 oz shredded pepper jack

BBQ Bean Topping:
12 oz of your preferred meat....this is REALLY versatile... shredded or ground  chicken, pork, beef, turkey  or even bacon would work......or you can leave it meatless. I used ground pork this time

1 TB olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup BBQ sauce, divided use (bottled or homemade)
2-15 oz cans black beans, drained

More pepper jack and cheddar to preference, I did another 2 oz of each
Red Pepper Flakes
Green Onions to taste

Preheat oven to 350

Mix corn masa and salt with the water(add the last 1/4 cup  slowly it may or may not all be necessary) mix until it is holding some together but still a bit crumbly.

Gather it with your hands and knead into a smooth ball.

Cut the ball in half

On a lightly greased 16 inch pizza sheet roll/press the 1/2 of the dough all the way out to the edges. I used a rolling pin then hand pressed the outer edges, if you get a hole, no big deal, just pinch some from a thicker spot and press it in.

Bake in preheated oven for 12 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on pan for 3 minutes

GENTLY transfer to a clean towel or parchment paper.
Repeat with the second ball of dough.

When the second tortilla is cooked add the shredded cheese(feel free to add more to taste) and top with the first tortilla.

Bake 5 minutes until the cheese is melted, remove from oven. Set aside.

BBQ Topping:

If you are using ground meat: In a skillet heat olive oil over medium high, cook meat with onions, pepper and garlic until there is no more pink....drain if necessary,

Add 3/4 cup BBQ sauce and the black beans.

Mash everything together, you can mash to your own desired consistency, lightly to leave the beans more whole, heavily for a refried bean like consistency or somewhere in between. Allow to simmer 5 minutes more to thicken.

If you are using pre-cooked/shredded meat or omitting meat completely just cook the onions, pepper and garlic in the oil until tender then continue with the beans, adding shredded meat last.

Gently pour the thickened mixture on top of the quesadilla and spread to the edges.

Top with more cheese and drizzle with remaining 1/4 cup of BBQ Sauce.....I also sprinkled mine with red pepper flakes

Can be made to this point and refrigerated, remove from fridge 20-30 minutes before you plan to bake.

Bake another 10-15 minutes(may need longer if previously refrigerated) until the cheese is melted and bubbly, top with green onions.

Allow to set for 5 minutes before slicing..

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Homemade Rootbeer Concentrate

Summer is here!  I have always wanted to make my own root beer but I could never gather the supplies without a lot of hassle(and extra expense of shipping) Well recently I found a haven of herbs.... Sequim Spice and Tea!! If you live in the Sequim area, check it out!! I experimented with yeast carbonation but that was a flop so I am just including the concentrate recipe to mix with club soda for now, I will continue with attempting the carbonation.

1 quart filtered water
1/2 oz Sarsaparilla Root(approx 15 grams )
1/2 oz Sassafras Root Bark(approx 15 grams)
1/2 oz Dandelion Root(approx 15 grams)
1/4 oz  Licorice Root(approx 8 grams)
3/4 inch peeled fresh Ginger Root
2 heaping TB dried Spearmint Leaves
1 Cinnamon Stick
1 Vanilla Bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out and reserved

1 1/2 cups organic cane sugar*
* if you would prefer it a little less sweet feel free to start with less sugar and add to taste

1 - STERILIZED 1 liter soda bottle

In a large pot pour the filtered water, add all the herb ingredients and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to steep for 6 hours, stirring a few times every now and the.

When it has been well steeped, strain out all solids

Bring to a low boil, add sugar and stir until well dissolved.

Remove from heat, chill and funnel into prepared bottle. Allow to sit for 48 hours, chill for another 24. Shake well before serving.

Mix with club soda or seltzer water ( I use a ratio of about 2 oz concentrate to 6 oz soda but feel free to play) and serve over ice.