Monday, October 22, 2012

Chocolate Gravy

A special occasion treat!
When I was 13 years old, I accompanied my Grandma Bonner from California to Arkansas to visit some several family members.  One morning my Great Aunt Edna made chocolate gravy for breakfast.  I thought that was about the nastiest sounding stuff I could imagine…until I tried it!  Oh my!  Yummy stuff! 
I never got my Aunt Edna’s “recipe” but I have a feeling it would be “a little this, a little that” and not really a recipe.  So, I set to work and wrote my own.  If you don’t feel like making homemade biscuits, this is very good over canned biscuits too (actually, for years I preferred canned biscuits for this gravy).  As an added bonus, the leftover gravy becomes chocolate pudding (cover the surface with clear wrap and refrigerate).
1/3 cup butter or margarine
1/3 cup flour
3 cups milk
Dash of salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Sprinkle the flour over the margarine and whisk to combine. Cook for 1-2 minutes, whisking constantly. Slowly whisk the milk into the mixture. Add the salt, sugar, and cocoa. Whisk constantly to prevent scorching (it may be necessary to reduce the heat). Cook mixture until it becomes the right thick consistency you desire.

Notes: My favorite way to eat this is with my homemade biscuits spread with peanut butter. It’s the closest I get to eating a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup for breakfast and it still being considered “breakfast.”

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Tupperware Sugar Cookie and Paint Icing

These were cookies done by the kids at church.
They had a blast and I enjoyed getting to see their “creations!”

When I was a young child, I remember sitting at our eating bar in our kitchen painting Christmas cookies with my brothers. Well, I’m not sure if I really remember the event or have simply been reminded of it through stories told and pictures seen. But, I do remember the wonderful aroma in the kitchen and how the cookies tasted!

Recently I was on the hunt for a painted cookie recipe and I remembered my mom saying the recipe we used that Christmas was from Tupperware. So I did an internet search for Tupperware Sugar Cookies and lucked up on this recipe (check out the blog it came from for some awesome cookie pictures!)

It’s a great alternative to the butter cream frosted cookies I love to do. My little ones can do these easier and there’s less icing to make (and eat!). You can also make the icing more vibrant and bright than when using butter cream. Oh, and it’s cheaper than butter cream too!

The cookies are sturdy and crisp. They are not soft (I use my sour cream cut out recipe for soft cookies).

The cookies freeze well.
Granny's Sugar Cookies
(From a 32-year-old Tupperware recipe I found in my box.) 
1/2 cup butter (I used Imperial margarine)
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Cream together butter and sugar. Blend in egg and vanilla. Stir together salt, baking powder and flour. Add to mixture and stir well. Chill dough at least one hour, up to three days.

Roll dough to desired thickness (about 1/8") and cut out shapes. Bake on lightly greased cookie sheet (or cookie sheet with parchment paper—do not be tempted to skip this!) in 375 degree preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes. Loosen from pan immediately, leave on pan for 2 minutes or until cool, move to cooling rack or wax paper. Cool completely and ice.

Easy Glaze
2 cups confectioners' sugar
4 tablespoons water

Combine ingredients until lumps disappear. Spoon on cookies or dip cookie directly into the glaze. You can also “paint” the cookies using new, washed paint brushes (the cheaper, the better…you want coarse bristles instead of fine, soft brushes). I used baby food jars to make it look more like “real” paint.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Whole Wheat Pizza

I recently tried making a whole wheat pizza crust and was extremely pleased with the result!

This is my Chicken Philly Ranch pizza—ranch for the sauce, peppers, onions, and chicken.

1 ¾ - 2 ½ cups whole wheat flour or white whole wheat flour
1 ½ envelope pizza crust yeast
¾ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon honey
2/3 cup very warm water (120 – 130 degrees)
3 tablespoons olive oil

Combine 1 cup flour, yeast, and salt.  Stir in water, honey, and oil.  Mix together until well blended (about 1 minute).

Gradually add ½ cup flour until soft dough ball is formed.  Add more flour if needed. 

Knead on a floured surface, adding more flour as needed until smooth & elastic (about 4 minutes).  Honestly, I just knead enough flour into it until it’s not so sticky.  It’s probably more like 2 or 3 minutes.

Place the dough in a greased bowl, turn to coat, cover with plastic wrap, and place in cold oven with light on.  Let rise for 20-30 minutes.

Grease pizza pan (I swear by a stone but a regular pan is okay too).  Sprinkle some cornmeal on pan.  Press dough out to fill pan or roll dough to 12-inch circle (or desired size/thickness).  Top with desired sauce and toppings.  Let sit for 10-20 minutes.  You can skip this sitting time…it will still be great but not as thick and soft (which you might prefer!).

Bake on bottom rack at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until done. 

Here is a link to my pizza tutorial with some other pizza ideas. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Homemade Italian Breadcrumbs

You may want a less processed product, 100% whole wheat, or just need some Italian breadcrumbs in a pinch.  It does take a little advanced notice since your bread has to be dried and hard but it could save you a trip to the store.  This is the concoction I’ve come up with.

3 slices whole wheat slices of bread, dried (see notes at bottom) and finely crushed
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
¼ teaspoon salt
4 or 5 shakes of garlic powder
1 ½ tablespoons parmesan cheese

Mix together and use as recipe directs.  This is what I use for my Chicken Parmesan.

Notes:  I put my bread in the oven after baking something and turn the oven off.  I leave them until they are dried out (about an hour).  You could also try leaving the bread out overnight (I suggest in the oven).  You want it more than toasted, you want all the moisture out of the bread.