Time to Make the Donuts!

Does anyone remember that old Dunkin Donuts commercial with the guy going “Time to make the donuts!” “I made the donuts.” If you don’t, go watch it on youtube and then come back and make these donuts!

These donuts are pretty amazing, and you can ask my coworkers if you don’t believe me. They did request the next batch be glazed, even though a few agreed with me that they were plenty sweet on their own. I tried big donuts or little donuts and they were both good, though I liked the smaller ones better.

RECIPE: Time to Make the Donuts!
Makes 2-3 Dozen (Depending on size)

Pastry Board
Rolling Pin
Pastry cutter
Apple Corer
Large Pot
Slotted Spoon
Cooling Rack
Paper Towels

3 oz Shortening
7 oz Sugar
0.24 oz Salt
1.5 oz Milk
1 tsp Nutmeg
0.5 oz Vanilla Etract
3 oz Whole Eggs
1.5 oz Egg Yolks
2 Lbs Flour
1.25 oz Baking Powder
1 lb Water
Vegetable Oil

IMG_07621) Begin by creaming together the shortening and sugar.
2) Mix in the salt, milk, nutmeg, vanilla, and eggs.
3) Beat in the flour, and baking powder.
4) Slowly mix in the water.
5) Transfer the dough to a well floured pastry board. Let it rest for 15 minutes.
6) Roll the dough out to about 1 cm in thickness.
7) Time to cut out the donuts! I used round biscuit cutters for the outside and an apple corer for the center. IMG_0765
8) Let them rest for about 15 minutes.
9) While the dough is resting, bring a pot of of oil and crisco (I was low on both) to 380 degrees.
10) Gently drop the donuts into the hot oil, letting them fry until golden on both sides.
11) Move the freshly fried dough to a cooling rack. I recommend putting some paper towels down under the cooling rack to make clean up easier. IMG_0769
12) Once the donuts are cooled, you can glaze them, cover them in powdered sugar, or leave them as is.


I prefer the donuts as is! They were sweet and delicious! My next batch will probably be an attempt at jelly filled donuts since those are my husbands favorite!

My Basic Sandwich

I enjoy cooking meals where there are layers of flavor playing against each other. I enjoy the science of baking and measuring out ingredients into just the right ratio. I love being challenge in the kitchen. And sometimes I just want to be basic. We all have those basic meals that are beyond simple, and yet, every time we eat them, they make us happy. For me, it is hands down this sandwich. The real secret is the bread, which my oldest friend (how has he put up with me for all these years??) shipped to me from my favorite bakery.

RECIPE: My Basic Sandwich
Makes 2 Sandwiches

Grill Tongs
Cutting Board

Chicken Breasts
Horseradish Sauce
Worcester Sauce
Good Italian Bread
Pickled Peppers

IMG_07051) Begin by grilling the chicken breasts on a nice hot grill.
2) While the chicken is grilling, thinly slice up half an onion.
3) In a bowl, mix together a scoop of  mayo, a heavy squeeze of horseradish, just enough ketchup to turn it pink, and a splash or two of worcester sauce.
4) Lay down the bread and top the bottom piece with the sliced onions in a nice single layer.
5) Let the chicken rest and then slice for the sandwiches.
6) Cover the onion with a layer of chicken and then slather heavily with the sauce.
7) Option to top it with pickles or pickled peppers.
8) Serve with canned peach on the side for the full effect.

IMG_0709The sauce is the best part of this sandwich. You want it to start dripping out the sandwich when you take a bite and having to lick off your fingers afterwards. My mouth is watering as I type this out!

Bedeviled Cake

My husband is a big fan of Oreo cookies, and those Oreo cookie cakes they sell in the bakery of our local grocery store. I figured why not try to recreate my own version of an Oreo Cake at home? Well, it definitely did not taste like an Oreo. I’m not even going to share the recipe for the frosting because it just tasted a bit too sugary.  However, the cake was pretty delicious by itself and that recipe I will share!

RECIPE: Bedeviled Cake
Makes 2 Layers 

Tea Kettle
Glass Measuring Cup
Small Spatula
2 Round Baking Pans
Oven heated to 375
Cooling Rack

1/2 Cup Boiling Water
1/2 Cup Cocoa
2/3 Cup Shortening
1 1/2 Cups Sugar
3 Eggs
2 teaspoons Vanilla
2 1/3 cups Flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Salt
3/4 Cup Evaporated Milk

IMG_07261) Begin heating up the water in the tea kettle.
2) When it comes to a boil, pour a half cup of hot water over a half cup of cocoa powder in the glass measuring dish. Stir and set aside to cool.
3) In a mixer, cream together the shortening and sugar.
4) Beat in the eggs and vanilla.
5) Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
6) Slowly mix in the chocolate mixture and then the milk. IMG_0732
7) Grease and flour your two baking pans before pouring about half the batter into each.
8) Bake in a 350 degree oven until a tooth pick comes out clean.
9) Let the pans cool on a cooling rack for a little bit before flipping out the cakes. Let the cakes cool completely before plating and frosting.

For frosting this cake, I would recommend a a rich peanut butter frosting and a deep midnight chocolate frosting. The vanilla just didn’t stand up to the cake in a way it deserved. IMG_0734

Fajita Dinner

Ever since I lived in an apartment over a tex-mex restaurant, Americanized Mexican food has been an important part of our meal rotation. At the grocery store we found a pack of steaks on super discount. The price was too good to pass up, and they looked like the perfect cut to use in Fajitas! I should have chosen a different jar of peppers for this recipe as the banana peppers blended in color with the onion, oh well, it was still delicious!


RECIPE: Fajita Dinner
Makes 2-4 Servings

(depending on hunger level) 

Plastic Cutting Board
Storage Containers
Cast iron pans

1 1/2 Onions
4-6 Cloves of Garlic
1/2 a Lime
Discount Steak
Hot Pepper Powder

1) If you only want to use one cutting board, be sure to cut your vegetables first and your meat last. After you cut meat, you have to wash the cutting board and knife to prevent cross contamination.
2) Slice the onions into strips, and mince up the cloves of garlic. Set aside.
3) Cut the lime into wedges and set aside.

4) Cut the meat into nice long strips. Drop the strips into a nice hot cast iron pan.
5) Season with hot pepper powder, paprika, cumin, cilantro, and freshly squeezed lime juice.
6) Toss the meat a bit, then add the garlic, onion, canned peppers and the lime wedges (to make sure you get all the flavor and juice out of them).
7) Toss the mixture with the tongs a bit to make sure it all evenly cooks.
8) In another hot pan, drop in your tortillas to heat them. They should bubble a bit as they heat and crisp a bit.
9) Serve the meat and veggies over the tortillas. IMG_0721
The meat was so tender and delicious. The lime flavor definitely made a difference in this meal, that is definitely not an ingredient you can skip or replace!

I Relish the Opportunity Burger

I would apologize for the lack of prep pictures for this meal, except for the fact I love that my husband starts cooking before I get home! There is nothing better than having a long day at the office and coming home to a house smelling like dinner. In this case, it smelled good as soon as I got out of my car since he was grilling. This is the I relish the opportunity Burger. 

RECIPE: I relish the opportunity burger
Makes 2 Burgers

Cutting Board
Meat Grinder
Wax Paper

Chunk of Beef
Garlic Powder
Hamburger Buns
Hot Pepper Relish (nothing milder than a banana pepper in there)

IMG_06981) Freeze the ground beef and bacon until mostly frozen. Remove and cut into chunks to make grinding easier. You want to grind in about one slice of bacon per 5-6 ounces of beef.
2) Grind the mixture twice to ensure the beef and bacon are fully incorporated.
3) Form the meat into patties and place on top of the wax paper lined plate.
4) Season the patties with a tiny sprinkle of paprika, garlic powder, and cumin on both sides.
5) Place the patties on the grill. Before flipping, give each patty a partial turn to create the nice diamond sear pattern.
6) Toast the buns lightly on the grill after you flip the patties.
7) Throw away the wax paper and place the buns and patties on hte clean plate.
8) Top the patties with a nice scoop of homemade hot pepper relish to give it the kick it desires, no other condiments needed or recommended. IMG_0700
Instead of french fries, we decided to give these burgers baked potatoes as a side. Its the same concept, but definitely a bit healthier!

The Best Ham and Bean Soup

Ham and Bean soup is one of my favorite winter meals. It’s hearty and hot! Every family has there own recipe for Ham and Bean soup. The secret ingredient in my recipe is what makes it so unique and tasty, and its easy to find this time of year: turnip greens!

RECIPE: Ham and Bean Soup
Makes 5 Quarts

Cutting Board

Northern Great Beans
Ham Bone with meat
Bay Leaves
5 Cloves Garlic
Wilted Turnip Greens

IMG_06891) Follow the directions on the bag of dried beans to properly soak them over night in a pot. The next morning, let the beans simmer the next morning.
2) Drain and move the beans to a bowl.
3) In a the same large pot, place the ham bone with the meat sticking to it. Fill with water until the bone is submerged.
4) Simmer the ham bone covered for most of the morning. IMG_0692
5) Remove the bone and meats from the broth. Save the meat separately for later.
6) Add the 2 bay leaves to the hot broth.
7) Chop up the onion and mince the garlic cloves and add them to the broth.
8) Add the shredded ham and beans back to the broth.
9) Roughly chop the turnip greens and add them to the pot.
10) Cover and let simmer just a bit longer.

If you need a side to go with the soup, while all the flavors are coming together in the final simmer, you can make some great biscuits. I still use my home economics biscuit recipe. IMG_0694

The best part of this soup is the leftovers. We had four quarts of soup leftover, which was enough to feed us for lunch for the rest of the week.

Fancy Guacamole and Nachos

It is so rare that we get avocados on sale in our area, and it is even rare for them to be of good quality. I picked up these two avocados out of sheer excitement at the possibilities they held. I used half of one in some tacos and the rest got saved for these delicious delicious nachos.

RECIPE: Fancy Guacamole and Nachos
Makes 2 Servings

Cutting Board
Can Opener
Mortar and Pestle
Small baking pans
Cheese Grater
Oven Set to 375 degrees

Black Beans
Pepper Powder
Tomato Powder
5 cloves Garlic
1 1/2 Avocados
Tortilla Chips
Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese

1) Mince up an onion, adding half  of it to the pot on the stove while reserving the other half for later.
2) Once the onions have cooked a bit, add in part of a can of black beans and corn.
3) Season the beans with cumin, paprika, pepper powder, and a touch of tomato powder.

4) Mince up the garlic cloves. Add about half of them to the beans and reserve the other half for later.
DSCF04355) While the beans are cooking, its time to start working on the guacamole.
6) Put the minced garlic and onion into the mortar.
7) Peal the avocados and remove the pits, add it to the mortar.
8) Add some salt, pepper, and cilantro to the mortar.
9) Slice the lime into wedges.
10) Shred the extra sharp cheddar cheese, and lay out the tortilla chips in their pans. 2-3 ounces of chips per pan is the perfect amount. DSCF0437
11) Use the pestle to start creating the guacamole in the mortar. Squeeze in the lime juice, mix, taste, and adjust as needed.
12) Sprinkle the cheese over the chips and then top with beans and corns.
13) Bake until the cheese melts.
14) Remove from the oven and top with a layer of the fresh guacamole.
15) Serve in the trays for a fun date night!


Ham it up Pizza

We just love making pizza, and now that we have perfected our sourdough pizza dough we make it almost every other week. We decided to change it up this week and make a pizza topped with delicious chunks of ham. Its like a Hawaiian but without pineapple!

RECIPE: Ham it up Pizza
Makes 2 Pizzas

Cast iron pan
Cutting Board
Cheese Shredder
Oven set to 450-500 degrees

Sourdough Pizza Dough
Tomato Sauce
Pickled Jalapeno Peppers

1) Press the pizza dough into the cast iron pans to form the crusts.
2) Cut up the chunk of ham, into small bite size pieces.
3) Shred about 4 ounces of mozzarella cheese.

4) Spoon the sauce over the crust, leaving an edge for holding.
5) Sprinkle with cheese to create an even coating.
6) Top with pieces of pickled jalapeno peppers and pieces of ham.
7) Bake in the very hot oven for 10-15 minutes or until the crust is golden and the cheese is melted. IMG_0676pizza

Chicken Parm

Chicken parm is something we hadn’t made in a long time. In fact, I think the last time we had it was in college. With the dish being very overdue to be made, we decided to make it our Christmas Eve dinner this year. It was absolutely delicious!

RECIPE: Chicken Parm
Makes 4 Servings

Plastic Cutting Board
Wax Paper
Rolling Pin
Three Bowls
Cast iron pan
Glass Baking Dish
Cutting Board
Oven set to 375

4 Chicken Breasts
2 Eggs
Basil Parlsey
Parmesan Cheese
Bread Crumbs
Canola Oil
Tomato Sauce
Whole Wheat Spaghetti

1) Lay out the chicken breasts on a plastic cutting board. Lay a piece of wax paper over it and use a heavy rolling pin or cast iron pan until its flattened.
2) In one bowl, add flour with salt and pepper. In a second bowl, beat together two eggs. In a third bowl, mix together 1 cup breadcrumbs to a half cup parmdesan cheese.
3) In a cast iron pan, begin heating a layer of oil over medium high heat.
4) Dip the flattened chicken breast in the flour, then the eggs, and finally the bread crumb mixture before dropping it into the hot oil.

DSCF04115) Fry on each side until golden brown and then place it in the glass baking dish.
6) Once all the chicken has been fried, spread a layer of tomato sauce over each piece.
7) Slice the mozzarella cheese into slice and lay it over the chicken. Sprinkle with lots of parmesan cheese.
8) Place in the hot oven to bake until the cheese melts.
9) While it is baking, bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the spaghetti.
10) Serve the chicken parm over a fresh layer of pasta and then sprinkle with fresh basil and parsley. DSCF0414

This chicken was crispy, delicious, and amazing. The homemade sauce complimented the chicken perfectly.

Broccoli Potato Soup

The temperatures this winter have been frightfully unpredictable. When the cold begins to seep into your bones, there is nothing better than broccoli potato soup. Its hot and thick, the kind of soup that sticks to your ribs and warms your entire body.

RECIPE: Broccoli Potato Soup
Makes 4 Servings

Cutting Board
Pot with lid
Immersion Blending
Cheese Shredder

3 Potatos
Half Quart Broth
1 Cup Heavy Cream
Black Pepper
Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese
2 slices Bacon

1) Cube the potatoes and put them in the pot with the broth.
2) Cover and simmer until the potatoes soften and absorb all the delicious broth flavor.
3) Mix in the heavy cream and use the immersion blender to make it smooth and creamy.

4) Finely chop up the broccoli.
5) Season the soup with a bit of black pepper, salt, paprika, and sprinkle with all the broccoli.
6) Stir everything and let it keep cooking.
7)  Let the bacon cook, when its finished chop it up.
8) Shred the extra sharp cheddar cheese.
9) Serve the soup with a sprinkle of cheese and bits of bacon on top! DSCF0422