December 14, 2016

Povitica

Pronounced "po-vuh-tee-tsa"...a Croatian bread that I was first introduced to by my Yugoslavian grandmother. It is flaky and sweet and wonderful, and worth the effort that goes into making it!

Dough
4 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
4 tsp yeast
1/4 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cups milk, warmed

Stir together dry ingredients.  Add in wet ingredients and mix until dough pulls from the sides of the bowl.  Transfer dough onto a floured surface and knead until dough is smooth and elastic.  Dough should be soft, but not sticky.  Divide dough in half and place each bit of dough in a separate bowl.  Place bowls in a warm place, cover, and allow dough to rise until twice the original size - about an hour.  Proceed to make filling (below) while dough is rising.

Preheat oven to 325. Lay out a sheet or tablecloth onto your rolling surface and cover lightly with flour.  Once risen, turn out dough for one loaf onto floured surface.  Roll dough out, with floured rolling pin, into a rectangular shape that is about 10"x24", or about 1/4" thick, or as thin as you want to go.  Then, spread your filling over the entire surface of the dough, getting as close to the edges as possible.

On the long side of the dough, roll the edge over onto itself a little bit.  Then, on the same side as the rolled side, take your tablecloth or sheet and start to lift.  The dough should roll into a jelly-roll/cinnamon roll style log as you lift up the cloth.  Bring each end of the log towards the center, making an "S" loaf.  Very carefully, transfer the loaf into a very well-greased loaf pan.

Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hours and 15 minutes.  Cool your povitica in the loaf pan for at least an hour before removing from the pan.  Once cooled, slice your povitica and serve.  (Slicing the loaf upside down yields a nicer looking slice.)

Traditional Walnut Filling
2 cups English walnuts (about 1/2 pound)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp salt
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp rum extract
1 Tbsp cinnamon

Grind walnuts in a food processor, or beat in a Ziplock bag with a rolling pin.  Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, and stir to combine thoroughly - making a loose filling.  If filling looks to tough to spread over dough, stir in a little milk. **Makes enough filling for ONE LOAF of povitica**

Cream Cheese Filling
2 8oz packages of cream cheese, at room temp
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup white sugar

Beat all ingredients together until fluffy and smooth.  If it looks too difficult to spread, beat in a little milk. **Makes enough filling for ONE LOAF of povitica**

Chocolate Filling
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 Hershey bars, chopped or broken up into little pieces
1 egg, slightly beaten

Heat milk, butter, and vanilla in a small pan on the stove until boiling.  In the meantime, combine sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, and chocolate bits in a bowl.  Once the milk mixture is boiling, pour over dry ingredients.  Stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth.  Add a small amount of hot chocolate mixture into the beaten egg, mixing constantly.  Then, transfer egg back into the bowl of hot chocolate and mix completely, until smooth.  Let the chocolate filling sit at room temperature until you are ready to spread over dough.  If the mixture becomes too thick, stir in a bit of milk. **Makes enough filling for ONE LOAF of povitica**

Apple Cinnamon Filling
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 egg
2 cups apple pie filling

Beat egg slightly in a bowl.  Mix in sugar and cinnamon.  Stir in apple pie filling, and mix until well blended. **Makes enough filling for ONE LOAF of povitica**

Recipe from Rachel

November 13, 2016

Copycat Recipe - Hot Butterbeer from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter


A little bit of magic in a mug.


1 stick of butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 to 2 Tbsp heavy whipping cream
1 tsp butter flavoring
1/2 tsp rum flavoring
4 cups milk, hot

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar until blended. Heat until bubbly. Stir in just enough heavy cream until the consistency resembles a thick syrup. Stir in butter and rum flavorings. Whisk mixture into hot milk. Add a dollop of topping (below) and enjoy!

2 cups marshmallow fluff
2 to 4 Tbsp heavy cream
1/2 tsp butter flavor
1/4 tsp rum flavor

Beat all ingredients together until smooth and creamy. It should be thick, but able to drizzle.

December 26, 2015

French Silk Pie

This recipe is 1 1/2 times the original recipe. I felt like the original recipe wasn't enough for a good pie, but doubling it was way too much.  This seems to be perfect!  My husband's sisters have experimented with adding peppermint extract or peanut butter to the recipe, but I'm a minimalist and love the original just the way it is!

1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp sugar
4 1/2 Tbsp Cocoa
3/4 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
1 pre-baked pie crust

Cream butter, sugar, and cocoa together.  Stir in vanilla.  Add eggs - one at a time - beating each egg for 3-5 minutes (a must!)  Pour into pie crusts and chill for 1-2 hours, or until set up. Top with whipped cream and enjoy!

Recipe from Annette & Karen

---

Pie Crust

1 cup flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup oil
2 1/2 Tbsp cold water

Stir ingredients together, and mold into a ball.  Place dough ball on one sheet of wax paper, press down to flatten it out, and then place another piece of wax paper on top. Roll dough out with a rolling pin.  To pre-bake before adding fillings, poke holes all around dough with a fork, then bake at 400 for 12-15 minutes, or until lightly golden brown.  Makes ONE pie crust.

August 20, 2014

Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies


The very best chocolate chip cookie recipe I have ever come across, and I can't even remember where it came from.  All I know is that I know it by heart, and don't need to look at anything to make these babies.  To me, Tollhouse cookies don't even compare to these...!


1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs (room temp if possible)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (feel free to throw in the whole bag if you like them super chocolate-y)

Cream butter, brown sugar and white sugar together in a mixer. Then add the eggs, one at a time. Beat until creamy. Add the vanilla. In another bowl mix the dry ingredients together before slowly adding them to the creamed mixture. When combined, stop the mixer and add the semi-sweet chips. Mix up and then drop by the teaspoonful onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake on 350 degrees for 8 minutes. Place on wire rack to cool.


favorite

August 7, 2014

Salsa for Canning

12 cups blanched, skinned, and diced tomatoes
4 cups diced green peppers
2 to 2 1/2 cups diced onion
2-4 jalapenos, chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
1/3 cup lemon juice
1-2 Tbsp canning salt
8-9 pint jars
sugar, salt, and lemon juice for jars

Bring tomatoes, salt, and lemon juice to a boil, turn down heat a little and let them simmer down, stirring often as to not let them burn.  Cook tomatoes down until a bunch of the water has cooked off.  Add peppers, onions, and garlic.  Simmer until desired consistency.  Meanwhile, put 1/2 tsp salt, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, and 1-2 tsp sugar into each pint jar (while still hot from sterilizing).  When salsa is at the desired consistency, ladle hot salsa into hot jars, leaving 1/2" head space.  Wipe rims and put on lids.  Process in a hot water bath (35 min for pins, 45 min for quarts).

Recipe by Meredith

August 4, 2014

Blueberry Jam


After finding a sweet little berry patch around town and picking loads of fresh blueberries, I made this delicious blueberry jam for us to enjoy.  The kids have loved it on their peanut butter and jam sandwiches, and it's great on toast, too!  I have made a few batches of this and have used both liquid and powdered pectin, both of which yield a great jam.

8 cups fresh blueberries
6 cups sugar
3 Tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 pouches (3oz each) liquid fruit pectin -OR 2 boxes of dry pectin
8-9 half pint jars with bands and lids

Clean and sterilize your glass jars, bands, and lids.  Process berries in a food processor or blender, until blended.  Transfer to a stockpot.  Stir in sugar, lemon juice, and cinnamon.  (If using powdered pectin, stir that in, too.)  Bring to a full rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly.  Stir in liquid pectin.  Boil for 1 minute more, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and skim off foam.  Ladle hot jam into hot, sterilized half-pint jars, leaving 1/4" headspace.  Remove air bubbles.  Wipe rims of jars and place lids on.  Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.

See below for a detailed step by step of this recipe...

Assemble ingredients.

Sterilize clean jars and lids.

Process/blend berries until blended and then transfer to a stockpot.

Add sugar,

cinnamon,

and lemon juice.  Stir ingredients together well.

Bring to a boil.

Stir in liquid pectin. And bring back to a boil.  Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and skim off foam.

Ladle hot jam into hot, sterlized jars.

Wipe the rims of the jars before placing the lids on.
Then process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.



Recipe modified by Meredith (original found HERE)

May 29, 2014

Meredith's Breakfast Egg Casserole

1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
9 eggs
1/2 cup milk
3oz cream cheese, softened
16oz shredded Monterey Jack cheese (you may substitute pepper-jack if you want it a little spicy)
2 cups cottage cheese

Optional mix-ins
1-2 small cans of diced green chiles
1lb cooked and crumbled pork sausage
1lb cooked and crumbled bacon


Mix butter, flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar together.  Beat in eggs, milk, and cream cheese.  You may want to use a food emulsifier (boat motor) at this point to blend ingredients into an even mixture.  Stir in shredded cheese and cottage cheese.  If you are adding the optional mix-ins, do so at this point.  Pour into greased 9x13 baking dish.  Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Recipe by Meredith

March 4, 2014

Homemade Chicken Strips with Milk Gravy

I have a lot of things that I make that I don't have exact measurements for to share a recipe.  A lot of the times I eyeball the measurements, or have made something so many times that I don't really need to measure.  This recipe is one of them, so bare with me on this one.  They are so worth the time it takes to make them, though!

3-6 chicken breasts, trimmed and sliced thin or into nuggets
3-4 eggs
1-2 Tbsp soy sauce
1-2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp minced garlic
2-3 cups flour
seasoned salt
pepper
onion powder (optional)
oil
bacon grease (not necessary, but I would HIGHLY recommend!)

- Scramble the eggs and whisk in soy sauce, Worchestershire sauce, and garlic.  Throw in sliced chicken and let marinate until you are ready to cook.
- Stir together flour (about 1 1/2 cups at a time) with the seasoned salt and pepper in a bowl with a lid.  Adjust the amounts to taste.
- Heat oil and bacon grease together in a large skillet for frying.  Warm up slowly to medium-high to high heat.
- When the oil is ready (throw in a drop of water and if it immediately bubbles, you're ready), throw in 4-6 chicken strips at a time into the flour mixture.  Close the lid and shake until the chicken is well-coated.
- Carefully drop the chicken strips into the hot oil.  Cook until they are nice and golden brown, and chicken is cooked through.  Remove from oil onto paper towels.  This is a good point to give one a try to see if the flour needs more salt or pepper!
- Repeat with all of the chicken strips until they are done cooking!  When the flour gets to be too crumbly and isn't coating the chicken well, toss it out and make a fresh batch of flour, salt, and pepper.
- Serve hot and enjoy!

* You can substitute BBQ sauce and some milk for the soy and Worchestershire sauce.  Gives it the chicken strips a different flavor, but still so, so good! *
* As I mentioned, the bacon grease is not essential but makes the chicken strips oh-so-amazing.  I just save all of my bacon grease in a quart-sized mason jar in the refrigerator, collecting the drippings from each time I make bacon.  When the mason jar is full...it's time for chicken strips! *

For the milk gravy...

1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup flour
2 tsp chicken bouillon granules (or 2 cubes)
salt and pepper to taste
1-2 c milk (not skim)

Melt butter in a saucepan.  Whisk in flour, salt, pepper, and bouillon.  Let cook for about 1 minute, until bubbly.  Slowly add milk, whisking constantly to ensure a smooth gravy.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 1 minute.  Add more milk if gravy gets to be too thick.

February 26, 2014

Meredith's *Perfect* Rice Krispie Treats

I'm kind of a Rice Krispie treat snob and love it when I sink my teeth into a "perfect" one.  This recipe is completely from scratch, and as close to *my* perfect as can be!

2 envelopes of unflavored gelatin (I used Knox brand; the 1oz box comes with 4 envelopes; I used 2 of those individual envelopes)
1 cup water, divided
1 cup sugar
1 cup corn syrup **
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp imitation butter flavoring (optional)
1/8 tsp salt
4 Tbsp butter, melted.
8+ cups crispy rice cereal

- Line a 8 or 9 inch square baking dish with foil and then grease it.
- Mix gelatin and 1/2 cup of the water in an electric mixer bowl.  Set aside.
- On the stove in a small saucepan, bring the other 1/2 cup of water, sugar, corn syrup, and cream of tartar to a boil.  Use a candy thermometer and boil until it reaches 240 degrees (about 8 minutes once it starts to boil).
- Meanwhile, melt butter and set aside to cool.
- Remove syrup from stovetop once it reaches 240 degrees.
- Start the mixer on medium speed and slowly pour the hot syrup into the gelatin, which should have swelled by now.
- Once it is all poured in, increase speed to medium high to high.  Beat mixture until it becomes white and fluffy, and has about tripled it's size (approximately 5 mintues).
- Pour in salt, vanilla, and butter flavoring (if using) and mix until blended in.  Then pour in melted butter; the size of the mixture will decrease a little.  Mix until blended.
- Transfer into another bowl (if you want) and then stir in the cereal until it is well-coated.  Add more or less, depending on how gooey you like your rice krispie treats!
- Transfer coated cereal to baking dish and stick in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to set.
- Cut into bars and eat, or store in an airtight container.

**If you don't have corn syrup, you may substitute with sugar.  So, it would be 2 cups of sugar and no corn syrup.**

Recipe by Meredith

February 13, 2014

Copycat Recipe: Panera Bread Broccoli-Cheese Soup



I've tried several broccoli-cheese soups and this is what I found to be the closest to Panera Bread's version.  My kids eat it up like crazy!  Make sure you use the *real* half and half, not milk, not the fake stuff.  The same goes with the cornstarch; do not substitute flour!  It definitely makes a difference in the texture!

2 Tbsp butter, melted
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup cornstarch (NOT flour!)
4 cups *real* half and half
4 cups chicken stock
1 lb fresh broccoli
1 1/2 carrot, shredded
1/2 tsp nutmeg
16 oz sharp cheddar, grated
salt and pepper to taste

- Saute onion in butter, until it's translucent, then set aside.
- Finely chop broccoli, and finely shred or chop carrots.  Steam together, until veggies are tender.  Set aside.
- Melt butter in soup pot.  Add cornstarch, salt, pepper, and nutmeg using a whisk and cook over medium heat for until bubbly; approximately 2-3 minutes.
- Stir constantly while whisking in the the half and half.
- Add the chicken stock.
- Simmer for 20 minutes, until thickened
- Stir in broccoli, carrots, and cooked onions.  Cook over low heat for about 10-15 minutes.
- Add cheese and stir until it cheese is completely melted.
- Serve hot and enjoy!

* Makes approximately 8-9 cups.
* If the soup needs to be thinned out a little bit, use whole milk until you get your desired consistency.

Recipe by Meredith
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