Sunday, September 15, 2013

Roasted Garlic and Cheddar Bread from scratch


  • 1 1/8 cup warm water
  • 1 packet yeast
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons powdered milk
  • 1 bulb roasted garlic
  • 4 oz sharp cheddar, cubed


Add water, honey, and yeast to bread machine pan. I think I may have poured more than 3 tablespoons of honey. Let sit for a while until it starts getting kind of foamy.

While you wait, cube the cheese and set it in the freezer. Add flour and the rest of your ingredients (except the cheese and garlic) to the machine. Set on dough cycle and start.

My dough cycle take 90 minutes. Dump the doughball on an oiled piece of wax paper. Place the cheese cubes and roasted garlic cloves all over the top of the dough, and then knead them in. Stretch and twist the dough into a long loaf, and place on a cookie sheet, diagonally if needed to fit. I lined mine with parchment paper. Cover with the oiled wax paper and place in a warm area of your kitchen to rise while the oven preheats. I set mine next to the oven.

Preheat your oven to 400. When it comes up to temperature, open and turn it down to 350. Uncover dough and bake for 20 minutes, then check it. It will probably need about 7 more minutes to start turning a nice golden in places.

Remove from oven and let cool.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Homemade Chicken or Beef Stock

Broth or stock is the base for most soups, many sauces, and used in place of water to improve grains such as rice. Many recipes give you the option of using store-bought broth or stock, but nothing compares to homemade. Making your own is very easy, a great way to get the most out of meat you buy that contains bones, and gives you control over the flavor, any possible unwanted ingredients, and the sodium level (if you care about that sort of thing).

This is the basic method, without any salt or seasonings.

Put the bones in a pot, raw or cooked, it doesn’t matter.
Add an acid - vinegar or lemon juice (a couple of table spoons to half a cup).
Cover the bones with cold water (you can go an inch or two above the bones depending on how they sit in the pot).
Let it sit for about 30 minutes, so the acid can do its work pulling minerals out of the bone.
Turn on the heat and simmer for several hours - beef bones take about twice as long as chicken. If you are doing this on the stove or in a slow cooker, chicken bones should simmer for at least four to six hours, and beef bones need six to 12. Or, you can use a pressure cooker and cut your time down significantly (see below).
Cool, strain, and put your broth fridge overnight. Save the bones if this is your first time (see below).
Lift the congealed fat layer off the top. Your broth should have the consistency of Jell-O.

Why You Should Save the Bones if This is Your First Attempt

If your broth or stock did not gel, you probably need to toss the bones back in and simmer some more. This can also happen if you use too much water for the amount of bones.

Using a Pressure Cooker

This is much faster in a pressure cooker. Once it has come up to pressure and you’ve reduced the temperature, chicken broth takes about 45 minutes and beef takes about 90 minutes. DO read the instructions for your pressure cooker thoroughly if you are not familiar with it.

Which Bones?
I use whatever bones I have from cooking chicken. For beef, I’ve used rib bones after making ribs, and I’ve bought beef bones at the store. If I buy them, I choose a mix of femur bones and bones with lots of cartilage. Check out some of the Benefits of Bone Broth.

Seasoning and Flavoring

I often add a good handful of coarse salt. Sometimes I don’t add any flavorings. If the bones are from cooked meat your both will likely take on some of the flavor of the dish. You can use raw bones. Roasting beef bones before making your broth gives it a deeper, richer flavor. Adding roasted onion and garlic does, too.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Rachel vs. "The Kitchen": Simple Split Chicken Breasts

Rachel vs. "The Kitchen": Simple Split Chicken Breasts

This is so easy, but it always comes out juicy and wonderful. I make it frequently. I save up the bones in the freezer until I have enough to make Homemade Chicken Stock.

I am planning to adapt this to a whole roasted chicken recipe soon, using some of the basics from my previous post Easy, Delicious Roast Chicken and Gravy.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Homemade Red Sauce

I normally buy red sauce because it’s so quick and easy to make a yummy, filling meal of spaghetti and meat sauce with a good jarred sauce. But, I have started making homemade mozzarella and ricotta, and I am planning to use them in lasagna, so it just seemed like homemade red sauce was called for. If I’m feeling really energetic I’ll even make my own lasagna noodles.

This is the recipe for the basic red sauce, which goes well on perogies, tortellini, or as a dipping sauce for fried zucchini or bread sticks. It would work for pizza sauce, too. Of course, you can easily turn this into a meat sauce (instructions below).


1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil (I prefer extra light tasting)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 bulb roasted garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 large can whole peeled tomatoes (28 ounces)
1 regular can tomato sauce (15 ounces)
4 1/2 teaspoons tomato paste
¼ cup Shiraz (red wine)
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Salt to taste

In a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions, salt, basil, oregano, black pepper, and cook, stirring, until the onions are translucent. Add roasted garlic.

Place the whole canned tomatoes in a large bowl and squeeze to break into small pieces. Be careful when squeezing or you’ll quirt juice all over your kitchen.

Add the broken-up tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, Shiraz, bay leaf, garlic powder, onion powder, and brown sugar to the pot and stir. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for a couple of hours, stirring occasionally.

Turning this into Meat Sauce:

If meat sauce is what you are really after, just brown about 1½ pounds of ground beef with your favorite seasonings (I use salt, onion powder, garlic powder, basil and a touch of oregano) and drain off the excess grease. Return the beef to the pan and season some more if needed. When the meat is good and flavorful, toss it into your red sauce, stir, and simmer for a few minutes. If you are not going to us it right away, you can skip that last simmer until you are warming the sauce to serve.

This goes great in lasagna, or on top of spaghetti.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Found Recipe: Guac & Chicken Pinwheels

I came across a recipe for Guac & Chicken Pinwheels with Tyson Grilled & Ready on Twitter (retweeted by @therebelchick here).

This is so quick, easy, and good. It looks like a great way to use up some of the ingredients you have hanging around the fridge, too. I don't know about you, but I'm always looking for inviting ways to use up the rest of the fresh spinach before it goes bad.

So what we have here is some chicken, cheese, spinach and guacamole, rolled up in a tortilla and cut into bite-sized peices. It would make a great snack, appetizer, or main dish. You could even serve it up with some homemade ranch or blue cheese dressing.

Personally, I would use sliced cheddar or pepper jack in place of American cheese, and substitute some of my cook-ahead chicken for the store-bought chicken in the original recipe, but I love the idea here!

One thing that's pictured, but not named,in the original blog post is Wholly Guacamole, store-bought guac. While nothing beats homemade guacamole, I have found that this brand is quite good, and makes for a very acceptable substitute for the real thing. Normally I won't touch store-bought guac, so that's a pretty big deal.

Thanks to @therebelchick and @Momhatescooking for the headsup on this one!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Homemade Ranch Dressing

I love ranch dressing. I have always loved it, and still firmly believe that many foods are really just a tool for getting the ranch to your mouth. Many years ago I started noticing that when I ate appetizers or salad with it, I would start to feel crappy and lose my appetite before my main dish arrived.

Of course, it turned out that the store-bought ranch and mixes were loaded with MSG. I did eventually find some brands that do not have it, but after a while I get tired of them. I started making my own, but the results were hit and miss, and it was a lot of work. Finally I found a recipe that looked good. I tweaked it a bit to suit my taste. It consistently turns out great, and it’s quick and easy.

You’ll notice that I reduced the mayonnaise and increased the sour cream. That’s one of the problems I have with the better stuff I have found in stores – it just tastes and feels too heavy on the mayonnaise. I also reduced the dill and increased the onion powder. When I made it with the full portion of dill I found it overpowered the flavors.

I prefer to use my homemade sour cream, which is made the same way as crème fraîche and crema Mexicana. From what I have found so far, they are one in the same. I’m still trying to find more on that and figure out if there is supposed to be some subtle difference that I’m missing in my reading or what. I plan to write a post on that in the near future.


1 cup homemade sour cream (or crème fraîche, crema Mexicana, or half store-bought sour cream and half buttermilk)
½  cup mayonnaise
½  teaspoon dried chives
½  teaspoon dried parsley
½  teaspoon onion powder
¼  teaspoon garlic powder
¼  teaspoon dried dill weed
1/8   teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper


Whisk together all ingredients. I like to do this in the container I am going to store the dressing in. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes so it’s nice and chilled and the flavors are well blended.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Lemon Beef Thing

Lemmon Beef Thing

This is one of my favorite dishes. It is a nice change from the usual flavors we have around here. My recipe is adapted from a dish my mom used to make which was adapted from a veal scaloppini recipe. Don’t worry, there is no veal involved. In fact, there is no form of scaloppini in this recipe.


Stew meat, or any cut of beef cut into large bite-sized pieces
Onion powder
Lemon juice
Olive oil

On a plate on in a large baggie, mix together flour, salt, and onion powder. Coat the meat with the flour mixture, and shake off excess flour. I put mine on a plate or in a bowl after I shake off the flour, just to make things easier.
Heat an iron skillet on medium-high. When it’s hot add olive oil, covering the bottom of the pan. Brown the meat, placing just one layer of meat in the skillet. You are not trying to cook the meat through, just brow the outside. You may have to work in batches. I drizzle some olive oil on top of the meat while it’s in the skillet and before I flip it. If the pan goes fry of oil, add more oil.

Set the browned meat aside, and clean the skillet. This is easy, just run cold water in the very hot skillet and scrub with a nylon brush. The goal is to get the browned flour out. Put the skillet back on the stove to reheat and dry. It only takes a minute. When the skillet is hot again, add a just little oil and return the meat to the skillet. Pour in lemon juice, drizzling over meat, cover, and reduce heat to med-low. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

The amount of lemon juice will vary according to how much liquid you want. It will cook down and form a thick sauce with the flour from the coated meat. You can add more lemon juice as you go if it’s drying out too much.

You can keep this warm on the stove or in the oven for quite a while before serving. Serve with on top of white rice. It goes well with steamed and buttered Brussels sprouts.


Friday, December 14, 2012

Beef Chili (no beans)

Snow, something of a rare occurrence the last few years, calls for chili. My last batch just wasn’t hot enough. It came out more like beef stew. So, this time I was hoping to step up the heat, while keeping it in range for those who can’t handle the really hot stuff. I think it came out pretty hot, meaning too hot for some, but not too hot for me. If you add some of the serving goodies below it will cool it down.

Meat Ingredients

2.5 lbs bottom round beef, cubed
Olive oil
Onion powder
Garlic powder
Black pepper

Other ingredients
1 bulb garlic, roasted
5 green chilies, roasted, peeled, and diced
1 large red onion, diced
3 jalapenos, diced with seeds
3 dried red chilies, whole with stems cut off
1½ tsp chili powder
1½ tsp caribe
½ tsp oregano
1 large can diced tomatoes
Salt to taste
Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Serving goodies (optional)

Shredded cheddar and Monterey jack cheese
Homemade sour cream
Fresh tomatoes

I roasted, peeled, and froze my green chilies a couple of months ago, so those just had to be thawed out and cut up. The dried red chilies are a PITA to cut up, so this time I just cut off the stem and threw them in whole to leach out their yummy goodness.

Preparing the Meat

Cut the meat in bite-sized cubes (or buy it that way). Put it in a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Sprinkle with the rest of the meat ingredients and toss to coat.

Heat a large pot or Dutch oven on med-high. Add a little olive oil. Toss in the meat and brown. You’ll want to stir it some as it browns, and you’ll see that it produces a fair amount of juices.

Making the Chili

Add the onions, jalapeno, roasted garlic, and green chilies, and stir well. Let this cook a bit. The onions should wilt, but don’t have to be translucent.
Toss in the dried red chilies, and pour in the diced tomatoes. Add some water to the tomato can, swirl it around in the can, and pour that in. Add the dried spices, and stir.
The dried red chilies will poke down without breaking after they absorb some moisture. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Author Page on Facebook

I have finally created an author page on Facebook. I should have done it a long time ago, but I just wasn’t making the connection. So, hopefully I will see you there!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Garlic and Onion Soup

This is so easy, and so, so good. The only drawback is that it takes a long time, but it’s not hands-on time, just lots of waiting. It is kind of like French onion soup. I eat it as a soup on its own. My husband uses it for French dip sandwiches. It starts with homemade beef bone broth. I have been making it in a pressure cooker lately.


Beef bones (5 or 6)
Onions (about 4)
Garlic (2 bulbs)
Olive oil
Lemon juice
Coarse sea salt

The key to this recipe is roasting the bones, onion, and garlic first. I do this in the oven at 400, for 45 minute to 1 ½ hours. You can use a glass baking dish or oven-proof bowl. A bowl seems to work best for the bones. Put all the bones in a glass, oven-safe bowl and drizzle some olive oil on top (just to keep them from sticking). Slice the onions into thirds. I don’t bother peeling them. Slice the tops off the garlic bulbs. Pour a little olive oil in the bottom of a glass baking dish. Put the onion and garlic in the baking dish. Roast the bones, onion and garlic. The onion and garlic will be done before the bones.

Making the Broth
Pour a little olive oil in the bottom of the pressure cooker. Toss in one bulb of garlic and half of your onions. Save the rest of the onions and garlic, and the oil they roasted in, for later. Toss in the bones and the oil and fat from the bones. Add some lemon juice (maybe ¼ cup), sea salt (about a handful or so), and cold water. My pressure cooker has a line that shows you how much water you can add.

Let this sit and soak for 30 minutes before starting the pressure cooker. Bring the pressure cooker up to temperature, then turn it down, or do it however your model works. Cook in pressure cooker for 90 minutes. Strain the liquid into another container, put the bones, onion and garlic back into the pressure cooker, add some more lemon juice, and cook it all again for another hour and a half. Strain the second batch and press all the juices you can out of the bones, onion, and garlic.

Discard the bones, onion and garlic (not the onion and garlic you saved for later).

If you don’t want all of the fat from the broth, put it in the fridge overnight. The fat will rise and congeal on top and you can just pull it off and toss it.

Finishing the Soup
If your broth is chilled, it will be a jiggly lump. That’s good; it means it came out right. Place about 6 cups of broth in a pot on the stove. Store the rest in the fridge or freeze it for other recipes or just to sip on. Peel the onions and toss them in the broth. Squeeze the garlic out of its shell, into the broth. Simmer, uncovered, for about an hour. It will reduce.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Zucchini Cakes for Breakfast

I have discovered out that my zucchini cakes make a great cook-ahead item for breakfast.

I’m having some food allergies and other health issues, so wheat is off the menu for the time being. That means I needed an alternative to toast or biscuits to sop up my eggs yolks. The zucchini cakes are perfect, and I like them better than hash browns. I heat two in the oven topped with some butter, and serve them topped with fried eggs.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Lesser Known Tips for Crock Pot Cooking | DinnerTool

Lesser Known Tips for Crock Pot Cooking DinnerTool

I came across this helpful article today. I would advise against the foil balls, but maybe there is something else that could be substituted that does not contain aluminum.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Mini Quiche

I have never been a big quiche fan, but I needed something I could make ahead and heat up in the mornings for a quick and easy breakfast. I do not put cheese in these when I cook them, but I put shredded cheddar in the bowl with my quiche when I eat it. I also top it with a little homemade ranch dressing and nutritional yeast.

Green onions

You’ll bake these in a muffin tin. Grease it thoroughly or use the little paper liners! A dozen eggs will make 12 mini quiche, but you can make smaller batches if you want.

Beat the eggs in a bowl. Chop up the spinach, green onions, parsley, and tomatoes. I use bacon bits made from real bacon so I don’t have to bother with cooking and cutting up the bacon. Toss the bacon and veggies together in a bowl, and try to get them evenly distributed.

Ladle the eggs into the muffin tin, filling each spot about halfway. Add your other ingredients to each until you have used them all up. Bake at 325 until fully cooked. I checked mine often, and I think it took 20 or 30 minutes, but the recipes I have read call for shorter cooking times. I don’t know what the deal is with that, so keep checking and DO NOT let them burn!