Sunday, February 1, 2015

Great Winter Recipes

World's Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

SuperBowl is done and over, so I changed the title, because heck, you don't need an excuse to have great food!
Not sure where you are today, but where I am, it is covered in snow, with no sign of stopping.   Perfect excuse to stay in.

I've been thinking of having a "Helpful Hints" page for some time, so I thought today I would just post a few recipes to get started.  I may decide on a page to list tips on,  or I just may post a few from time to time, and add the recipes to my "Recipe" page.  We'll see.

So, here we go... a few yummy recipes, that are easy and relatively quick.  Baked Omelette is a great easy way to start any day; Spinach & Artichoke dip is always a crowd pleaser, and is great the day after in an omelette or on a baked potato; and Peasant Bread and the World's Greatest Chocolate Chip Cookies are good to have around any, and all the time.



Baked Omelette
Preheat oven to 350F
I love omelettes, but to do them individually is a tad time consuming if you want to eat together.   Baked omelettes are easy to whip up, then bake while other breakfast items are prepared; or Bloody Mary's are enjoyed  Each 3 egg omelette serves 1-2 people.  

Butter small casserole, (18.6oz) with 1 teaspoon of butter.
mix together 3 large eggs and 1/4 light cream (half & half) together.
Add 1/4 teaspoon of salt.  Depending on ingredients, you may want to omit.  Pick your ingredients- cheeses, bacon, sausages, apples, onions, seafood.  Mix with egg/cream; pour into casserole.  Top with more cheese if desired.

Bake for 30 minutes.  Allow to rest for 5 minutes.


A Great Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip

I am a huge fan of Houston's Spinach Artichoke Dip.  Found this recipe in a cookbook by chance in a bookstore, and copied it down.  Wish I knew who to thank.

2- 10 oz pack of frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 14oz can of Quartered Artichoke hearts drained
1 chopped medium sweet onion
1/4 cup (half a stick) unsalted butter
8oz pack of cream cheese
8oz shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Dashes to taste of Tabasco (optional)

DIRECTIONS- Preheat oven to 375F.  
On stove in 10 inch skillet, melt butter; saute chopped onion till tender.  Add cream cheese and Monterey Jack cheese to skillet to melt.  Once all is melted, stir in drained spinach and artichoke hearts, till all is well blended.  Stir in Tabasco if using.  Transfer to shallow, oven proof dish- with 4 cup capacity.  Top with grated Parmesan.  Bake for 15 minutes at 375F.  Enjoy with tortilla chips.

Peasant Bread
I make bread from time to time, usually the Basic White Bread recipe I have on my "Recipes" page; but after trying this recipe that a friend found online, at Alexandra's Kitchen; I'm hooked.  IT IS THE EASIEST BREAD TO MAKE.  Especially if you are short on time and have other dishes to make.  It makes a great snack bread with cheese,  and your house will smell wonderful.  For the full recipe with photos, be sure to check out the link to Alexandra's Kitchen.  If you need a quick summary, here you go:

In 2 cups of warm water, spring 2 teaspoons of sugar.  Then on top, sprinkle 2 teaspoons of active yeast.  Set aside for 10 minutes.  Meanwhile in large bowl mix 4 cups of all purpose unbleached flour with 2 teaspoons of Kosher salt.  When yeast water is bubbly, add to flour/salt mixture.  Stir with wooden spoon till all is well mixed.  Cover with tea towel for one hour.  In one hour, butter well, 2 oven proof casseroles, or glass bowls with 4 cup capacity each.  Separate dough using two forks.  Cover and let rise in baking bowls/casseroles for 30 minutes to 1 hour.  Preheat oven to 425F.  Bake loaves for 15 minutes at 425F; then lower temp to 375F, and bake for 15 minutes more.  Let cool before slicing.
* I've added Italian spices to the flour with yummy outcomes.  Use approximately 2 teaspoon of each herb/spice per recipe.


World's Absolute Best Chocolate Chip Cookies
I found this recipe in a small cookie cookbook, from the 1980's, among my mom's cookbooks.  It makes cookies that are rich, filled with chips, and have body.  There's only one person that disagrees with the assessment of "World's Best"; and that's my youngest daughter.  Go figure.

1 cup of unsalted butter at room temperature
3/4 cup of sugar
1 cup of packed dark brown sugar
2 eggs
1 Tablespoon of Vanilla Extract (be sure to use real; I use a "double strength" from Penzeys Spices.)
3 cups of all purpose unbleached flour
3/4 teaspoon of baking soda
3/4 teaspoon of salt
3 cups of semi-sweet chips (1 1/2 12 oz bags)

Preheat oven to 350F
Cream butter and sugars in large bowl.  Add eggs and vanilla.
In another bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt.  Gradually add dry mixture to creamed mixture.  Add chips, and 1 cup of nuts if desired.  DOUGH WILL BE VERY STIFF.

Spoon out onto cookie sheet.  The original recipe states that the recipe yields 2-3 dozen.  However, keep in mind, these cookies are rich, so I keep them small.  I use a soup spoon and globs are about the size of a ping pong ball.  Yields around 60 cookies.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, and cool on wire racks.