Tag Archives: my first cookbook

I’m so excited…

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And I just can’t hide it…Ok, enough of that.  I am pretty excited today though – look what came in the mail!

My first baking book

I was doing some digging on the interwebs to see if the author of the My First Cookbook was still writing.  And although she’s not (or that I could find anyway), I did discover that she made a second book called My First Baking Book a few years later.  I skimmed through the recipes and they sound just as amazing (if not more!)  So now my quest carries on!  I don’t know if I can wait till the end of the year to finish the other one and then start on this one, so there might be a smattering of both all year 🙂  Can you sense my excitement?!?

Cheers everyone!

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Cheater Chili

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Cheater Chili

We’re not huge chili eaters around here.  So I wasn’t super excited when I came across the recipe in the book.  But then, I had a moment of inspiration…what if I used the left over Mini-Meatloafs as the base?  That would save me some cooking time, and use left overs that always get forgotten in the depths of the fridge.  Genius? Maybe, maybe not.  But hey, we ate chili, and it was pretty darn tasty 🙂

Chili

The Recipe (makes 6 servings):

1 medium bell pepper (any color will do)

1 small onion

1 pound lean ground beef (or left over Mini-Meatloafs!)

1 can (14 1/2 oz.) crushed tomatoes

1 can (19 oz.) kidney beans (I actually left these out of my chili)

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon ground cumin (Cumin and I do not get along, I can’t stand the smell, so omitted this too!) 🙂

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 cup tomato puree

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 oz. Sharp Cheddar, grated

1 container sour cream

Green onions for garnish, optional

 

The Process:

1.  Chop the bell peppers and onions.  Saute in a sauce pan until tender.

2.  Add the ground beef (or Mini Meatloafs!) to the pan and cook over medium heat until no pink remains.

3.  Empty the can of crushed tomatoes into the pan and stir.

4.  Strain and rinse the kidney beans and add to pan.

5.  Add the chili powder, cumin (yuck), garlic powder, tomato puree and salt to the meat mixture.  Simmer over low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

6.  While the chili is cooking, shred the cheddar (don’t scrape your knuckles!).

7.  When the chili is ready, ladle into bowls and top with grated cheddar, a dollop of sour cream, and green onions if you choose.

It may be cheating, but cheating can be yummy 🙂

Banana (Chocolate) Walnut Bread

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I think everyone should bake a loaf of this bread right now, just so your house smells as good as mine! 🙂 Great texture and flavor – I have to say, I’m really sorry I’ve never tried all these yummy recipes before!  So far, they have all been amazingly good.  I did add some chocolate chips to my version, because, why not?!?

na Chocolate Walnut Bread

The Recipe (makes 1 loaf):

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature

2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

3 very ripe bananas

2 tablespoons sour cream

1 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Cinnamon Cream Cheese for serving (recipe follows)

The Process:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 F.

2.  Grease the bottom and sides of a 4×8 loaf pan with butter.

3.  Mix the flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.

4.  Place the butter and sugar in your mixing bowl and beat with mixer until light and fluffy.

5.  Break the eggs into the bowl and beat until completely blended with butter mixture.

6.  Add the flour mixture and beat until smooth.

7.  Peel the bananas and break into small chunks.  Add the bananas, sour cream, walnuts, and chocolate chips.  Blend at low speed until combined.

8.  Pour the batter into the buttered loaf pan and smooth out the top with a rubber spatula.

9.  Bake for 1 hour 10 minutes (I found this was spot on).

10.  Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes (yeah right).  Turn the pan upside down to allow the loaf to fall out.  Place loaf right side up and let cool another 15 minutes (sure…) before slicing.

This bread was great on its own, but even better with some Cinnamon Cream Cheese.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese

I package softened cream cheese

1 teaspoon cinnamon (or more to taste)

2-3 teaspoons brown sugar

Classic Fudge Brownies (with a Peanut Butter twist)

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Here’s your pretty standard fudgy brownie recipe.  I added a little “me” twist by swirling in some yummy peanut butter – just to make them that much more awesome.

Fudge peanut butter Brownie

 

The Recipe

4 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate (I used semi-sweet chocolate chips since I had them on hand)

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

1 1/2 teaspoons butter at room temperature

3 eggs

1  1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla (as per usual, I did 2 teaspoons)

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup melted peanut butter (optional)

1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

 

The Process

1.  Preheat oven to 325 F

2.  Using a double boiler, melt the 1/2 cup butter and chocolate over low heat.  Stir occasionally.  Set aside to cool when completely melted.

3.  Butter the bottom and sides of a 9×12 baking dish.

4.  Break the eggs into the bowl of your mixer.  Add the sugar and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy (around 2 minutes).

5.  Add the cooled chocolate mixture and mix at low speed until incorporated into the sugar mixture.   Add half the flour and mix at low speed until mixed in.  Add the remaining flour (and optional walnuts) and mix until blended.

6.  Pour the batter into the buttered baking dish.  If using the peanut butter option, melt 1/4 cup of peanut butter in the microwave.  Place a dollop of peanut butter at each corner of the pan and 1 dollop in the center.   Using a knife, swirl the peanut butter in an “S” shape from top to bottom, and then side to side.  The tops of these brownies turn out a little light, so the pretty peanut butter swirls got a little lost unfortunately.  But they still tasted amazing!

7.  Place in oven and bake for approximately 25-30 minutes.

8.  If you can…allow the brownies to cool for 15 minutes before diving in.

Choco-holics unite! 

Mini Meatloaf (aka Meat Muffin, aka Meat Cupcake)

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Mini Meatloaf (aka Meat Muffin, aka Meat Cupcake)

Call it what you will, but let’s be honest – it’s a meatball. 🙂  But a darn good meatball!  I followed the recipe almost to a “T”, and it turned out amazing.  The only suggestion I didn’t take was to turn the “meat muffin” upside down when serving so the bacon is on the bottom.  Who in their right mind would hide bacon?!?

*Pro Tip: Place your muffin tin in a dish with higher sides to catch the drippings.  I’ll be cleaning my oven if anyone needs me…sigh…

Personal Mini Meatloaf

The Recipe

2 Tablespoons butter (or cooking spray)

1 medium onion

1 1/2 pounds ground beef

1/4 cup bread crumbs (I used Italian seasoned)

1/2 Teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 Teaspoon salt

1/4 Teaspoon pepper

1 egg

Ketchup

3 slices of bacon, cut into thirds

The Process

1. Preheat oven to 350 F

2.  Lightly butter a muffin tin (or spray lightly with cooking spray)

3.  Finely chop onion.

4.  Place meat in large working bowl.  Add in chopped onion, bread crumbs, garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Break egg into bowl and mix all ingredients by hand until incorporated.

5.  Spoon 1 tablespoon of ketchup into each muffin tin (The recipe calls for 6 meat muffins, I ended up with 7).

6.  Divide the meat mixture evenly into muffin cups (the book kindly reminds us to wash our hands after this step, so don’t forget!)

7.  Place 1 strip of the cut bacon over each meatloaf.

8.  Place the muffin tin on your preferred baking dish (to catch drippings – don’t be like me!!)

9.  Bake at 350 F for 25 minutes.

10.  Remove from oven and serve bacon side up (don’t listen to them and hide the bacon!) Serve alongside your favorite veggies (we had some kale hanging around that was dying to be sauteed).

Mmmm….soft pretzels….

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Who on this planet doesn’t love a good soft pretzel?  Especially a home-made one, fresh out of the oven?!? Now I’m hungry…but I’ll press on.  I made these Rosemary Sea Salt Pretzels a few months ago, and they were A-mazing.  So I thought I’d share the recipe.  Did I mention they also include the recipe for an awesome rosemary cheese sauce?  Oh yeah, no joke.

rosemary sea salt pretzel

And then today, I came across these and I just had to pass it along – Chocolate Chip Brioche Pretzels.  Sweet meets pretzel = my heaven!   Guess I know what I’m baking this weekend…

Rainy Day Cinnamon Raisin (Walnut) Bread

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Rainy Day Cinnamon Raisin (Walnut) Bread

It’s an awesome cloudy, semi-rainy day here in Phoenix.  We don’t get many, so I figured I’d take up mother nature and make some yummy Cinnamon Raisin Bread.  I’ll be honest – my ten year old self would have never attempted this recipe.  Holy prep-time Batman!  The dough has to rise a total of 3 times, but totally worth it – my 3 year old (and husband) couldn’t get enough 🙂

Cinnamon raisin walnut bread

The Recipe

2 cups milk

1 package active dry yeast

5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 butter at room temperature

1 tablespoon oil

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/4 cup raisins

1/4 cup chopped walnuts (I added these to the recipe, well worth it!)

The (lengthy) Process:

1.  Pour the milk into the saucepan and place on the stove.  Heat milk over medium heat until it steams and bubbles form around the edge.  Let cool for 10 minutes.

2.  Place the yeast, 5 cups flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt into a large mixing bowl and mix.  Add 2 tablespoons of the butter and the cooled milk. Stir until a stiff dough forms.  Add in additional flour if needed.

3.  Flour a clean work surface.  Remove the dough and place on floured surface, sprinkle a little additional flour on top.

4.  Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, and then form into a ball.  The book goes into a length description about kneading, again, I’m going to assume we’re all adults here, if we’re not, here’s a great tutorial 😉

5.  Pour the oil into a large mixing bowl and spread around with a paper towel.  Place dough in the bowl and turn once to coat in oil.  Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and place in a warm spot.  Allow dough to rise for about 1 hour, or until it doubles in size)

6.  Remove the dough from the bowl and punch down.  Shape back into a ball and allow to rise (yet again) for 30 minutes.

7.  Rub some butter into the bottom and sides of 2 loaf pans (about 4″x 8″).

8.  Place 4 tablespoons of the butter,  the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar, and the 2 teaspoons of cinnamon into a small mixing bowl and combine.  Takes a little effort, but it eventually comes together.

9.  When the dough has risen for the second time, sprinkle a clean surface with flour and move the dough to the surface.  Using your hands, flatten dough into a rectangle as thin as you can get it.

10.  Spread the butter mixture onto the dough, and then sprinkle with the raisins and walnuts (if using).

11.  Starting along one edge, roll the dough as tightly as you can (should make a very pretty spiral in the center).  Cut the dough in half to make 2 loafs and place seam-side down in the buttered pans.  Cover with the kitchen towel and (you guessed it) let the loaves rise for (another) 30 minutes.  In the meantime, preheat the oven to 350 F.

12.  Spread the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter onto each loaf.  Place on the center rack in the oven and bake for about 35 minutes.  They give a great tip and say to bake until the bread sounds hollow when you lightly tap on it.

13.  Remove bread (don’t forget the mitts!!) and tip each loaf over to allow it to slide out of the pan.  Cool on a wire rack.

They suggested serving thick slices with cream cheese – but I though, why not take that a step further?  Enter…cinnamon cream cheese…oh yeah.  Seriously, you have to try it.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese

I package softened cream cheese

1 teaspoon cinnamon (or more to taste)

2-3 teaspoons brown sugar

Best rainy day ever!