Snickerdoodles, My Favorite

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Deveau Girl Cousins, it’s like a sorority of it’s own.  These girls are spread out all over the country and are aged from adults to those still in school.  They still manage to stay in touch through all kinds of social media.  When they get together–look out.  I could write a book on all their antics, maybe later.

They have tons of traditions a special song at weddings, they perform plays, dance and they make up songs.  That’s where the “Snickerdoodle, My Favorite” came from.  The song was a little ditty about a construction worker who was cramping the style of the family with 5 girls while redoing and reducing the number of bathrooms.

I don’t know if I am allowed to share all the words of the song, and they are ridiculously hilarious, but one of the verses had the snickerdoodle phrase.

Some of these girls are now mothers and they have taught this song to their girls.  One day, my grandson Abbott, piped up with “”Snickerdoodles”  My favowite.”  He just wanted to be one of the gang.

I have attempted to make snickerdoodles many times.  I was ashamed to say with bismall results.  In my quest to contribute to the group, I finally found an easy, uncomplicated recipe that turns out every time.  So thank you Emily, Jenni,Claire, Jessica, Jamie, Jaclyn, Janelle, Isabella, Francesca, Josie and Gianna for the inspiration.  And yes, Abbott the cookies are in the mail.

SNICKERDOODLES

Ingredients:

2 – 2/3 cups flour

2 tsp cream of tartar

1 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp salt

1 – 1/2 cups sugar

1 cut of butter flavored vegetable shortening

2 eggs

2 Tbsp milk

2 tsp vanilla

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees
  2. In a medium bowl place flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt and whisk until well combined.
  3. Cream shortening and sugar in a large bowl with a mixer gradually increasing speed until smooth, light colored and fluffy.
  4. Add milk, eggs and vanilla and mix well.
  5. Add the flour mixture in a scoop at a time, on a low speed so it doesn’t blow alll over.  Mix well
  6. Mix 1/2 cup sugar with 1 Tbsp cinnamon  in a small bowl.  Form 1″ balls of dough and roll in sugar mixture to coat.  Place them 2″ apart on an ungreased baking sheet.
  7. Bake 8 minutes,  or long if you like them crispier.  Cool on baking sheets for 2″.  Remove to rack until totally cooled.

Couple of hints:

  • Don’t put raw cookie dough on warm cookie sheets.  They should be room temperature.
  • If the cookies spread too much when baked, put the pan with raw cookies on in in the refrigerator or freezer for 20 minutes before baking.

Eat up and let me know how you like them.

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Spinach Ricotta Dumplings

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I grew up in a Norwegian household.  I know, I know, ricotta is not Norwegian.  I’m not either.  Actually I grew up in a very international home and married a man with an even more international background than myself. I have always loved to cook and Italian is one of my favorites.  If you haven’t tried my penne with vodka sauce (on this blog) you haven’t lived.  My friends daughter asked if she could give the recipe to the caterer for her wedding.

I’m also a big fan of comfort food and nothing comforts me like dumplings.  Any dumpling.  Plain biscuit type, sweet dumplings, German soup dumplings and ricotta is my favorite.

They melt in your mouth and you can eat them so many ways.  My husband loves them rolling in a good marinara sauce, I love them just plain with some sweet butter and my newest creation is to serve them with a browned butter sauce with fresh chopped garlic.  They are wonderful fresh and just as wonderful a day or two later.  Right, like that ever happens.

I make my own ricotta, which is embarrassingly simply, but you can also just use commercially prepared ricotta. Okay friends, let’s begin.

Ricotta Cheese

Ingredients

  • 4 cups milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 Tablespoons of lemon juice or white vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon kosher salt

Directions

  1. Prepare a colander by lining it with a dampened double layer of cheese cloth.  (Wring it out before you line the colander so it is not too wet).  This keeps the cloth from shifting when you are pouring in the cheese.  Set the colander over a bowl or in the sink.
  2. Warm the milk in a heavy pot until it begins to bubble around the edges and steams (About 200°)  Don’t let it boil.
  3. Add the acid (lemon or vinegar) and salt to the pot and stir with a wooden spoon gently until it is combined.  Let it sit for about 15 minutes.  Do not stir.  To check, use a slotted spoon you should see milky curds and yellowy thin water whey.  If the milk has not separated you can add more of your acid or wait a few minutes.  This recipe is very forgiving.
  4. Put the colander in a bowl. Strain the curds by pouring the contents of the pot into the colander.  Let the ricotta drain for 20 minutes to an hour depending how wet you like it or what you are using it for.  If it looks too dry add some of the whey back in, a teaspoon at a time.
  5. Use what you need, or store it in an airtight container.  It will last for up to a week.  It makes about 2 cups.

AND NOW FOR THE MAIN EVENT:

Spinach and Ricotta Dumplings

Ingredients

  • 1 – 10 oz. package of frozen, chopped spinach.  Defrosted and squeezed dry.
  • 1 1/2 cups of ricotta
  • 1 cup of parmessan cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 Tablespoons flour
  • fresh ground pepper
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • pinch of fresh ground nutmeg

Directions

  1.  Throw all the ingredients into a large bowl and mix with a fork.  You should have a sticky looking dough.  If it looks too wet add a little more flour.  I like to work with the sticky dough, I think the dumplings come out fluffier.
  2. Fill a large pot with water and a Tablespoon of kosher salt and bring to a boil.
  3. Prepare your work surface.  Gather the following:  cookie sheet, cookie dough scoop or a large spoon, extra flour to roll the dumplings in and another cookie sheet to put the dumplings on before you cook them.
  4. Spread a layer of flour on your first cookie sheet.  Take your cookie scoop (I usually spray mine with cooking spray) and plop a scoop of dough on the flour.  Gently roll it in the flour (you are looking to make 24 1-1/2″ balls.) and place on the second cookie sheet. Repeat until they are all rolled in flour.
  5.  When the water is boiling place half of the dumplings in the water.  Don’t crowd them.  If your pot is small do them in three batches.  You will know they are done when they rise to the top about 5-6 minutes.  Remove with a slotted spoon or a spider,  to a clean plate.

You can eat these several ways, with marina, butter and parmessan, maybe a little fresh chopped basil or parsley.  Try them.  Experiment and let me know how you ate them!

Oh, I bet they would be good in soup . . .

Accidental Lasagne Casserole

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Photo by Snapwire on Pexels.com

What?  Accidental lasagne casserole?  What is that?  Yumminess, that’s what.

When I was first married we were both students and money was really tight, it would be a stretch some nights as to what would be for dinner.  We use to make a game of it and come up with recipes from what we had in the kitchen and in the garden.  Some were winners, some were not.

This self-quarantining kind of reminds me of that.  I am really committed to quarantining because of all of the healthcare professionals in my family (nurses, doctors, technicians, etc.) risking their lives by working with Covid-19 patients.  So I don’t go to the grocery store.  I have groceries delivered and sometimes, because of high demand, I don’t get a delivery slot for a few days.  Oh trust me, we aren’t starving, but it sometimes makes you have to work a little harder at meal planning.  You’d make this, but you don’t have that, etc.

Tonight was one of those nights.  My husband loves Italian, especially spaghetti and meatballs (you will hear more about that in my next post!  We will have a guest contributor) but I didn’t have any ground beef.  Then I was going to make ricotta and spinach dumplings but I didn’t have any ricotta or the ingredients to make my own (which I make quite often).  Well, you get the picture so I took inventory and designed my own casserole.  It’s not that novel, the ingredients aren’t weird, somebody probably has already made it somewhere sometime but, throw me a bone here.

I had a pound of thawed bulk mild italian sausage (not in casings).  I always have tons of home canned tomatoes, onions, italian herbs and carrots (they make your sauce sweeter).  So I made a quick tomato sauce.  I always have pasta so I boiled some rigatoni.  I love how the sauce gets inside the noodles!  I browned the sausage and added it to the sauce.  Now what.  Hmmmm.  Next I spread about a third of the sauce on the bottom of a round casserole dish and layered some of the pasta I had just prepared.  I had about half to 3/4  of an 8 oz. cottage cheese container so I spread that on.  Next, more sauce, noodles and some grated mozzerella, more sauce, noodles the remainder of the sauce and topped with parmesan (a mix of freshly grated and dried from a can on top. Then I baked it for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

To say it was a hit would be putting it mildly.  It probably took me 30 minutes to throw it all together and I’m sure other variations would be great.  Throw in some pepperoni, use ground beef or slices of hot and/or mild Italian sausage.  Maybe some spinach.  What was fun was that it reminded me of the good old days when I couldn’t afford, time or money to run to the store for something I needed.

The only thing I regret is that I forgot to take pictures.  Rats.  I’ll use stock photos to jazz it up for now and take pictures to replace them next time I make this.  My husband says it better be soon.

Here is a better breakdown of the recipe:

Accidental Lasagne Casserole

Ingredients:

1 lb. dried pasta (I used rigatoni)

1 recipe of spaghetti sauce or a jar of prepared sauce like Ragu or Prego

8 ish ounces of ricotta cheese or cottage cheese

8 oz. grated mozzarella

parmesan cheese

Directions and Assembly:

Preheat oven to 350°.

Prepare a simple tomato sauce or open a jar of prepared sauce.

Cook 1 lb. of pasta according to package directions.

Brown sausage and add to sauce.

Layer sauce thinly in the bottom of a casserole dish. (Don’t forget to spray it with non-stick spray). Top that with about 1/3 of the noodles and the cottage cheese or ricotta.

Second layer: sauce, noodles and mozzarella cheese.

Third layer sauce, noodles, more sauce and parmesan cheese.

Bake in overn at 350° for about 45 minutes or until it lightly browned and bubbly.

Add a salad and there is dinner!  Try different combinations or additions and let me know what works.

 

 

G’s Raspberry Pie

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My family loves raspberries.  Three generations of raspberry lovers who call them “Red Gold.”  Me, my daughters and my grands. When we go to pick them we never return home with too many.  We eat them.  So we go to the produce stands around the cottage and buy them in bulk.  We freeze them, bake with them, eat them and smile while doing so!

Raspberry pies are one of the easiest pies to make.  There is no peeling, coring, or cutting them up.  Wash them, shake dry and dump them in the bowl.

Raspberry pies can be expensive to make in the off season.  Sometimes I make them in season and freeze them to enjoy later on in the year.  Last week, as I was making my Shipt order from Meijers grocery store I noticed they were on sale–and did I buy a ton of them.  Being quarantined has inspired even more baking than usual.  I decided to make a pie.

You are very lucky because I am going to share my favorite and best Raspberry Pie recipe.  But first, I think I’m heading to the kitchen for another piece . . .

G’s Red Raspberry Pie

Pastry Crust Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

2 sticks of unsalted butter

1 tsp. kosher salt

2 tsp. sugar (if it is a sweet pie as opposed to a savory quiche)

1/2 cup cold, cold, cold water

Secret ingredient:  I add 1 Tablespoon or so of powdered buttermilk to all my pie crusts.  It gives them an amazing wow.

Incidentally, this is a great pie crust recipe for any pie.  No-fail.

 

Raspberry Filling Ingredients:

4 cups fresh raspberries

4 Tablespoons of cornstarch

2/3 cups of sugar

1 Tablespoon of fresh lemon juice (no gonna lie, I’ve used lime juice before – still great)

dash of cinnamon

Instructions:

  1.  Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. Get out the old food processor and use the blade.  Into the food processor put all the ingredients for the pastry EXCEPT the cold water.  Give it a couple of spins to loosen things up and then turn it on.  Through the tube at the top, drizzle in the cold water.  Let it go until it forms a ball.  Ta da!
  3. Take dough out  and split it in half.  Roll it out to fit the size pie pan you use.  Typically I use a 9″.
  4. In a bowl, mix the filling ingredients and gently toss to cover all.  Pour into the pie pan.IMG_0274
  5. Roll out the other half of the pie dough for the top.  I like to use cut outs and usually let one of my grands pick out the shape.  If you don’t use cut outs, you will have to cut some slits in the pie crust top because all that delicious goodness has got to let some steam off.  (Don’t we all.) I then brush whipping cream across the top and sprinkle on sparkling sugar.  You don’t have to, but it makes the pie so pretty and shiny golden.

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6.  Into the oven she goes at 425° for 10 minutes.  Then turn oven down to 350° and                 bake for an additional 45-55 minutes until it is golden brown on top.

7.  Let it cool and set before serving (with ice cream of course)

**And as long as I have your attention, I hope I do, I would like to tell you about a product that I LOVE to use.  It makes making pie crusts so less stressful for me.  It is the OXO™ printed pie rolling bag.  It unzips all the way around.  You place your pie dough in the center circle, zip it up and roll out it out to the size you want.  I love it.  I have sprinkled flour in it and I have also not put anything and just rolled it out.  It runs around $15 bucks.  Some of the best money I have ever spent.

I don’t get any money for bragging this up but it anyone knows anyone at OXO let them know and maybe I will.  LOL

OXO Silicone Dough Rolling Bag

Peanut Butter Cookies – for my honey

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And by honey, I really mean honey.  These cookies are fabulous, easy and I have never had them fail.  They are a wonderfully flavored with honey — and you can use flavored honey.  My favorite if lavender infused honey.  I’m a new fan of lavender infused honey.  My sister-in-law, Lusetta, gave me a jar of lavender honey for my birthday.  So there began my experimenting.

peanut butter cookie 4The tea cup looks good, but, I really think a nice glass of cold, cold milk would   be great.

The honey in these cookies don’t make them overly sweet like the ones in the grocery stores.  The rest of the ingredients are sure to be in your pantry and they are quick to make.

I only wish I had had my grand kids, Etta,  Abbott and Jude to help me put the fork marks in them and sprinkle the sugar on the top.  They are three of the best, albeit easily distracted, baking assistants I know.  Always good taste testers as well.

Honey Peanut Butter Cookies

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Crisco™ shortening

1 cup peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)

1 cup honey (any honey, even flavor infused honey such as lavender)

2 eggs

3 cups flour

1 cup sugar

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt (kosher or sea salts are great too)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°.

In a bowl, mix shortening, peanut butter and honey. Add eggs; mix well.

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Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl and whisk with a wire whisk to mix.  Add to peanut butter mixture and mix well.

Roll into 1- to 1-1/2-in. balls and place on ungreased baking sheets,  or baking sheets with silicone mats.  Flatten with a fork dipped in flour. Sprinkle lightly with sugar (coarse if you have it.)

Bake for about 8 minutes at 350º or until light brown.  Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

If you have any left, ha ha, store in an air tight container.

Sweet or Savory Galettes — oui oui!

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Galette:

noun

any of various thin, round cakes or free form pastries, often with a filling or topping: a for example an apple galette glazed with blackberry jam; a cabbage and cheese-stuffed galette.

I go on these cooking crazes.  A few weeks ago I made oh, 8-10 cakes for various people and occasions.  Then there was the cookie phase, and the pie phase. . .

My latest kick has been galettes.  Why?  Because they are absolutely delicious, easy to make and can be the solution to food cravings whether savory or sweet.

Savory – tomato, ham, cheddar and green onion galette

stock photo, baking, pastry, raspberry, homemade, almonds, galette   These Peas are Hollow: Mini Stone Fruit Galettes

 Raspberry-almond     Mini stone fruit galettes

How are they made?  Let me explain.  I start with a rolled out pie crust.  You can buy a good one from Pillsbury (they are tasty!) or prepare your own.  I make pastry in batches and freeze them to use when I need them.  I like my pastry thin so I roll them thin.  If you are using purchased pie crust you should roll them a little thinner any way.  Move it to a baking stone or a simple cookie sheet.  No need to prepare the cookie sheet.

Now the filling.  You can brush the bottom of the sweet galettes with jams, jellies, curds, honey — whatever sounds good to you.  Savory galettes could be brushed with olive or another savory oil, a little balsamic — you get the gist.

Layer the sweet, savory or a mix of what you want for a filling. Leave a 2-3 inch edge all the way around the pastry.  You can top it with all kinds of stuff too, nuts, glazes, jams, syrups.

Finish by folding up the side, over the galette (so some of the filling is under the pastry crust) and pleating where necessary.  You can also glaze or sugar the edges of the crust.   Bake it for 45-50 minutes at 350  degrees until the crust is browned.  It’s a work of art and anything goes!

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Let me give you an example of the last two I made:

Apple Amaretto Almond Galette

On the pastry- 4 granny smith apples, peeled and thinly sliced, dotted with some craisins, spread out some preserves on the top (I used a peach almond amaretto which was amazing!), a teaspoon of butter cut up and dotted on the top and a handful of sliced almonds.  When I rolled up the sides I used the bake of a spoon and spread more of the preserves on the crust so I would get a nice shiny glaze.  Baked it at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes — until the pastry looks done.  It got several thumbs up at the party.

As you are reading this you are probably thinking of all the fun flavors you could make.  Sometimes I just open my fridge and grab.

Tomato Ham Cheddar Galette

I made this tonight.  So, on the pastry, rolled out thin I lined the bottom with sliced tomatoes.  Again, keeping a 2-3 inch border around the pastry.  I topped that with ham (I did thin strips) and cheddar cheese.  I sprinkled a little bit of chopped basil on top and a dash of balsamic and baked it for 50 minutes at 350 degrees.  When it came out of the oven I sprinkled thinly sliced green onions to the top.  It was delicious.  After dinner I was thinking that sour cream might also be good on top after it was out of the oven.

I love to experiment.  I usually make fruit galettes because they are easy, great looking desserts in a rustic “oh this was nothing” kind of way.

Here are some of the other toppings I have used:

apple caramel
raspberry almond
mini marshmallow, crushed graham crackers, mini chocolate chips
nutella with almonds and coconut – I know, stop it, please stop it
peach, nectarine and plum
apple, pear and dried cranberries

The list goes on.  I’m just getting into the savories but the possibilities are endless.

ground beef, carrots and onions (prebrowned and drained) like an open face pasty (you “yuppers” know what I mean.)

ham and swiss cheese

corned beef, swiss cheese, sauerkraut and thousand island dressing.

Serve with whatever condiments you like.  Drop me a comment and let me know what you have tried.  Trust me it’s worth it!

Lettuce Wraps – Sweet and Spicy . . .

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IMG_1584. . . and so easy!

A group of friends all decided to challenge ourselves.  We were all going to a wedding and we wanted to look good.  The deal was that whoever lost the most weight won the jackpot (We all put in five bucks!).

 I took this pretty serious, and I won 1st place.  The best part of this whole experience is that it motivated me to eat healthier, exercise and to put some thought into healthy recipes.

This one is my favorite.  It is easy, quick and I’m guessing you have most, if not all, of the ingredients on hand in your pantry.

By the way, the wedding was a blast.  It was beautiful and we all were too!  So shout out to Kelly, Sue, Julie, Barb, Heather, Kathy, Lori and Tracy!  You girls rock.

Now, back to the lettuce wraps.

Ingredients:

1 Tablespoon oil

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger

1 lb. ground meat (my favorite is pork, chicken and turkey would work too)

1/4 cup hoison sauce (available in my grocery stores)

1 carrot , cut into matchsticks

2 green onions sliced (if you like you can also cut larger pieces on a slight – spicier!)

1 Tablespoon sesame seeds

Lettuce

Directions:

Using a medium size skillet, heat the oil on medium.  Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 30 seconds – minute, being careful not to burn the garlic (worst taste ever).  Add the meat and cook until all the pink is gone.

Take off heat, add the hoison sauce and stir till meat mixture is covered.  Toss on the carrot sticks, green onions and sesame seeds.  Toss lightly.  Serve on lettuce.  I use romaine because I like a sturdy wrap — but any lettuce you like will do.

That’s it.  Don’t look for more.  There isn’t any more ingredients, work or directions.  Just eat ’em up and enjoy.

Sometimes I just eat the filling out of a bowl — true confession.

Enjoy.

Cabbage Soup – Best Soup Ever – No really, seriously. . .

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I live in Michigan.  It’s cold here.  Soup comforts me.  So I make soup.   I have to say, this is one of the best soups I have ever, ever had.  Made it in about 20 minutes and cooked it in my instant pot for 2 hours.

I have also made it in my slow cooker and on high it cooks for about 4 hours.

I got an instant pot just before Christmas.  I have made soups, desserts, tapioca pudding and for New Years Eve I made Chinese spare ribs.  But this soup beats all.

Best thing about it?  It is Low calorie, Gluten free, Paleo, Celiac, Dairy Free, Plant based Vegan, and Vegetarian.  But it doesn’t have to be.  One time I substituted the Vegan Apple Sage Sausage links with Italian sausage.

Give credit where credit is due, I originally got the recipe from my new friends at:  https://recipes.instantpot.com/recipe/best cabbage-soup-ever/

Cabbage Soup – Best Ever

Ingredients

3 potatoes rough diced

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2 large carrots diced

2 stalks of celery diced

1 small onion diced

1/2 to 1 head green cabbage rough chopped

1 can diced tomatoes with juice (about 14.5 ounces) ( I use a quart of my home canned whole roma tomatoes and dice them).

2-4 Vegan Apple Sage Sausage links chopped (I like lots of sausage in mine)

1 quart of vegetable broth

1 1/2 cups vegetable broth

1 1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper ground

1/2 – 1 tsp. Grains of Paradise (optional) but I just LOVE this spice.  It is available on Amazon.

Instructions for instant pot:

  1.  Place all the ingredients in the instant pot.
  2. Cover the with the lid and turn the lid clockwise to lock into place.  Align the pointed end of the steam release handle to point to “Venting.”
  3. Press “Slow Cook”,  adjust the heat to high then change the time to 2 hours.
  4. When time is up, open the lid of the instant pot.
  5. Serve with whole grain bread, crackers or whatever your specific diet allows.

Instructions for slow cooker:

  1.  Place all of the ingredients in the slow cooker.
  2. Cover with the lid and turn on high.
  3. Cook for 4 hours or until the vegetables are as tender as you like.

Note:  I don’t like to leave this to simmer all day.  Personal preference.  I don’t like mushy cabbage.

Try different sausages if you are not vegetarian.

Message me or comment please.  Is this not the most wonderful soup in the world?