Pizza Bread Swirls – with Pepperoni, Red Peppers, Onions and Mozzarella

Pizza Bread Swirls - myyellowfarmhouse.com

Great for dinner, a snack or as appetizers!!  

The days and nights are getting colder and it’s pretty cool right now inside My Yellow Farmhouse, so I simply placed my leftover Pizza Bread Swirls in a zip-lock bag and left them on the counter.  Those of you who, like me, sometimes eat pizza for breakfast will be happy to know these were still soft and delicious the next day.

A new recipe often starts as a small nugget of an idea which percolates in your head until you think, “I’ve Got It.”  Then, as people used to say, ‘The Proof is in the Pudding’ – meaning “What does the final product taste like”?  It’s great pleasure when the final product tastes even more delicious than you had imagined!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 to 1 1/3 lb. purchased pizza dough     ++ “A Little Help from My Friends” !
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onion
  • 1/2 cup red pepper
  • 4 Tbs. tomato paste  ++  I use ‘Hunts’ with basil, garlic and oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. Italian seasonings  ++  Oregano can be substituted but the flavor won’t be the same
  • 1 pkg. (6 oz.) sliced pepperoni  — DIVIDED – – 3/4 cup chopped — rest left in slices
  • 3 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 pkg. (8 oz.) Whole Milk shredded Mozzarella
  • olive oil… to brush on stuffed & rolled bread
  • chopped fresh basil leaves – about 1 Tb. —-  to sprinkle on baked Pizza Bread Swirls

 ++   “How to” photos can be found at the end of the recipe    ++

Preheat oven to 375 F       Bake for 30 – 35 minutes      Yield – 12 Pizza Bread Swirls

Use a large cookie sheet lined with parchment paper     

  Method          

  Forming the Pizza Roll 

Remove pizza dough from packaging and place in a large bowl.  Spread 1 Tbs. olive oil on top of dough.  Flip dough over.  Cover with a dish towel (tea towel) and allow dough to come to room temperature, about an hour or so if you have the time.  It’s much, much easier to roll out pizza dough when it’s more elastic and pliable.

Meanwhile prepare filling;  pour 1 Tbs. olive oil in a medium skillet. Add 1/2 cup chopped onion and 1/2 cup chopped red pepper. Cook, stirring often, until veggies are softened.  Add 1/2 tsp. Italian seasonings, 4 Tbs. tomato paste with basil, garlic & oregano and 3/4 cup chopped pepperoni.  Cook, stirring, for 4 – 5 minutes.  Set aside.

Sprinkle a bit of flour on a dish towel.  ++ I like to spread the flour around with my hands so most of the surface is covered with flour – the dough sticks less!  Roll out dough until you have a rectangle approximately 12″ wide by 14″ long.   ++ I flip the dough over about half way through the rolling process so both sides are slightly covered in flour and the dough doesn’t stick to the dish cloth.  

Divide onion/red pepper/pepperoni filling approximately in half – spread filling evenly over dough.  Place rest of pepperoni slices evenly over filling.  Sprinkle with 3 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese and entire (8 oz.) bag shredded Mozzarella cheese.

Beginning at one of the long ends of dough, roll dough towards opposite end.  ++ The roll doesn’t have to be super tight… just tight enough to hold together when you cut it into sections.

  Cutting and Baking the Swirls

Turn roll so seam is on the bottom.  Brush with some olive oil.  Cut roll in half – then cut each half into 5 pieces, which gives you 10 pieces total.  ++  Use a sharp knife and cut slowly with a downward sawing motion.  I did a rather rotten job of cutting the swirls into equal sizes but they were fine!!   ; o )

Using a spatula – or your hands (which I do) – place swirls on a large cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake in at 375(F) for 30 – 35 minutes.  ++ To check if the swirls are done, use a fork & lift up the middle of one.  If looks cooked – they’re ready.  

Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and some chopped fresh basil.  ++ I highly recommend using some fresh basil – it really adds a whole other level of flavor     Enjoy  !!

Pizza Bread Swirls - myyellowfarmhouse.com

Pizza Bread Swirls - myyellowfarmhouse.com

Pizza Bread Swirls - myyellowfarmhouse.com

Pizza Bread Swirls - myyellowfarmhouse.com

Pizza Bread Swirls - myyellowfarmhouse.comPizza Bread Swirls- myyellowfarmhouse.com

Pizza Bread Swirls - myyellowfarmhouse.comPizza Swirl Bread - myyellowfarmhouse.com.

Pizza Bread Swirls - myyellowfarmhouse.com

Pizza Swirl Bread - myyellowfarmhouse.com

Pizza Bread Swirls - myyellowfarmhouse.com

Cream Cheese and Chocolate Filled Monkey Bread (Uses a 9 x 13 pan)

Monkey Bread Bread Filled with Cream Cheese & Chocolate - myyellowfarmhouse.com (2)

These are so good you might want to ‘slap your own self ‘ in the head !!  

Cream Cheese and Chocolate Filled Monkey Bread is baked in a 9″ x 13″ pan.  Unlike typical monkey bread, there’s only one layer rather than several and the pieces are bigger.  Think of these as ‘cinnamon roll meets monkey bread’!

A friend of mine is in the hospital and I brought two plates of my monkey bread to share with the nurses. They gave it rave reviews and several blamed me for their lack of will-power.  (Actually, I didn’t do so well in the will power department myself.)

Oven at 350F  (175C)       Greased 9″ x 13″ pan

Bake for 35 minutes – or until top is golden and center biscuits are fully cooked.

    INGREDIENTS 

  • 2 (16 oz.) packages of LARGE biscuits, such as Pillsbury ‘Grands’ Biscuits, found in the dairy case

    Cream Cheese Filling

  • 2 ( 8 oz.) packages of cream cheese – softened
  • ½ tsp. almond extract
  • 1 ½ tsp. sugar
  • chocolate chips, such as Nestles    ++  You’ll need about 1/2 cup or more    ++  I recommend using dark chocolate 

    Chopped Nuts, White Sugar & Cinnamon  … to be sprinkled over filled biscuits

  • ½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon

    Caramel Sauce

  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter – cut into cubes
  • ¾ cup PACKED brown sugar

METHOD      ++  See photos at bottom of post !

Open 2 packages of large refrigerated biscuits – allow to warm up a bit.  Soften 2 packages of cream cheese by bringing them to room temperature OR by microwaving each UNWRAPPED block of cream cheese on high for about 10 seconds.

In a medium bowl, beat softened cream cheese with ½ tsp. almond extract and 1 ½ tsp. white sugar until combined.

Place about a 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips in a small bowl.

Here’s how I formed the biscuits; take out four at a time.  Cut each biscuit in half.  Fold the cut halves together to form a circle.  (See photo below).  Using your palms, flatten each biscuit half until you have a 3″ circle.  Drop 2 heaping measuring teaspoons in the middle of each flattened biscuit and place several chocolate chips on top.   ++  I used about 4 for each, but next time I’m going to add more!! 

Bring the edges together to form something resembling a ball.  The shape does NOT matter, so don’t be fussy.  Place biscuit balls into a greased 9” x 13″.  Repeat….

++ I allowed the biscuits to rest a few minutes so the dough could rise a bit.  While dough is resting, sprinkle with 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans.  In a small bowl mix ½ cup white sugar with 2 tsp. ground cinnamon.  Sprinkle sugar/cinnamon mixture over biscuits.

Place ½ cup (1 stick) butter, cut into cubes, and ¾ cup PACKED brown sugar in a small microwavable bowl.  Heat on high for 30 seconds.  Stir.  Heat for another 30 seconds.  Mix butter and brown sugar well with a fork or a whisk.  Pour over biscuits.

Bake in a 350F (175C) oven for 35 minutes.  Biscuits should be golden brown and center biscuits should be fully cooked.

Invert onto a serving platter…. it IS a bit tricky.  Immediately remove pan.  There will be bits of yummy melted brown sugar and butter left – scrape it out before it cools and put it in the nooks and crannies between the biscuits. (If no one is looking, you have my permission to just eat it!)  ; o )

++  If you don’t have a large enough serving platter, use a cookie sheet.   

Cream Cheese and Chocolate Filled Monkey Bread  is soooo good when eaten fresh from the oven – and I was pleasantly surprised to see how good these were a day later. Enjoy!

Monkey Bread Filled with Cream Cheese & Chocolate - myyellowfarmhouse.com

Monkey Bread Filled with Cream Cheese & Chocolate - myyellowfarmhouse.com (2)

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Monkey Bread Filled with Cream Cheese and Chocolate - myyellowfarmhouse.com (3)

Monkey Bread Filled with Cream Cheese and Chocolate - myyellowfarmhouse.com

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Monkey Bread Bread Filled with Cream Cheese & Chocolate - myyellowfarmhouse.com 2

Monkey Bread Bread Filled with Cream Cheese & Chocolate - myyellowfarmhouse.com (2)

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Monkey Bread Filled with Cream Cheese and Chocolate - myyellowfarmhouse.

An Oldie but a Goody !! Old-Fashioned Apple Squares – Just in Time for Apple Picking Season

Old-Fashioned Apple Squares - - myyellowfarmhouse.com

The recipe for these ‘Old-Fashioned Apple Squares’ was one of the first recipes I ever posted – back in November of 2012.  There’s a ‘bumper crop’ of apples this year, so I thought I’d repost this once again. These apple squares are yummy!

– – – – – –

You know you’re getting o.l.d when the recipe you’re searching for is over 30 years old !! Imagine how pleasantly surprised I was when I actually found it – not filed under “bars” but filed under “apples” – but found, nevertheless!!

These apple squares (or bars) are even tastier than I remember!! They’re loaded with apples, nuts and raisins, and have a buttery, cinnamony goodness – so you can even eat them for breakfast!!

                                              MAKES ABOUT 24 SQUARES – or BARS

  • Oven at 350 F
  • Lightly grease a 9″ x !0″ pan
  • Bake 45 – 50 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

                                                                          INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 4 cups roughly chopped peeled and cored apples
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 raisins (Try the raisins even if you don’t always like raisins. They kind of “melt away” into the batter, and give the resulting bars a lovely sweetness and golden dark color.)

In a medium-sized bowl – using a mixer – cream together the vanilla, both sugars and 2 eggs until creamy and throughly mixed.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt & nutmeg. Add the creamed mixture to the dry mixture, and mix by hand until throughly blended.

Add the apples, walnuts and raisins – mix by hand until throughly blended

Pour into the greased pan, spreading with the spoon to get the mixture even.

Bake at 350 F for between 45 – 50 minutes.  When cooled, cut with a sharp knife. Enjoy!

Old-Fashioned Apple Squares - - myyellowfarmhouse.com

‘The Summer of Cecile’ – Gardening, Traveling and Just Kicking Back !!

Wine, Cheese & Pâté.. mixed with a lovely evening and a good friend – heavenly!!

As you may know, I’m a BIG fan of the old Seinfeld comedy show.  In one of my favorite episodes George Costanza, played by Jason Alexander, announces he plans to spend the entire summer doing exactly as he likes.  He called it The Summer of George.  As it turned out, I had The Summer of Cecile, though there was no announcement and it was entirely unplanned!!

I Proclaim this the Summer of George

I didn’t posted anything here on My Yellow Farmhouse all summer….   My house was dusty and my gardens were weedy, but I did have one terrific summer!!   (Luckily a friend recently helped me with the weeding and mulching, so now my gardens are looking pretty great!!)

August 2015 - pink tea roses and dalhias - My Yellow Farmhouse.comAntique Chair and Flowers - August 2015 - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

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My Adorable Gardener -myyellowfarmhouse.comAugust 2015 - bird bath and bench - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

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I sure wasn’t idle during my Summer of Cecile.  I spent time at our Pocono house & actually accomplished quite a bit there.  Here’s a few shots of my visit to The Delaware Water Gap, taken during one of my trips back home to Massachusetts from the Pocono Mountains.

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area

Delaware Water Gap Na'tl Recreation Area - myyellowfarmhouse.com

Dingmans Falls – Delaware Water Gap National Recreational Area

Dingmans Falls - Del. Water Gap - myyellowfarmhouse.com

I frolicked in the waves at Wells, Maine, Situate, MA and New London, CT, and headed up to Quebec to visit with family and old neighbor’s in St. Antoine de Tilly.

Hazy, Lazy Day – Scituate, MA

Scituate, MA 2015 myyellowfarmhouse.com

And I visited the lovely Berkshire mountains here in Massachusetts twice. In the spring I went to see a musician friend of mine play at the delightful old Naumkeag estate in Stockbridge, and later in the season spent a truly lovely day with friends at The Mount, writer Edith Wharton’s beautiful estate in Lenox.

                     A rather cloudy twilight at Naumkeag estate – Stockbridge, MA

Shawl from India - Naumkea estate gView from Naumkeag - myyellowfarmhouse.com

My musical friend, David Reed    (http://www.tambouraproductions.com)

David Reed @ www.tambouraproductions.com

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Another hazy day … Edith Wharton’s Estate – The Mount, Lenox, MA

Edith Wharton's Home

wtf

And here’s a bit of news!  My dear friend Chogo John (a.k.a. John Amici) recently published a cookbook containing delicious Italian recipes handed down from one generation to the next.  Along with terrific recipes, John has included family tales, which I always enjoy reading on his blog.  You can find John’s book, Recipes from the Bartolini Kitchens on Amazon.com – OR – follow this link to purchase John’s cookbook!!  ++  http://fromthebartolinikitchens.com/2015/09/23/im-back-and-the-kitchens-are-open/

As for me, I’m ‘going back into the kitchen’ now that summer is officially over, and I’ll be posting my version of Chocolate & Cream Cheese Stuffed Monkey Bread very soon !!!  Sending out big hugs to you all. I’ve missed you during my Summer of Cecile.

Arrowhead Lake – Pocono Mountains, PA  – – Springtime

Poconos - spring 2015 myyellowfarmhouse.com

++ Care to leave a comment?  Just scroll down a bit!!  ++

Pea Salad – A delicious and easy ‘make-ahead’ salad ! UPDATE – An even tastier and easier version!!

Pocono House - View from Lodge at Arrowhead Lake - myyellowfarmhouse.com
View from the Lodge at Arrow Head Lake – PA

I just returned from spending two weeks at our home in the Pocono Mountains where we don’t have an internet or TV connection, which actually makes it very relaxing.  I also spent a few days outside of Philadelphia with one of my sons and his family & they ‘gifted me’ by bringing me to see The Lion King – what a colorful, lively and just plain fabulous play it is!!

While at the Pocono house I did some spring projects, such as giving the deck a BIG SCRUB with some pretty powerful cleaning products.  When the directions tell you not to get any of it on your skin etc., you know it’s strong. But it works!!   (DO NOT invite me to your home to scrub your deck, thank you!  LOL!)

I didn’t have time to scrub the deck last spring… and look how bad it got in just 1 year! 

spring 2015 - deck
I used ‘Clorox – Pro-Results’ – it worked great!

small red heart

Pea Salad – Ingredients and Method

I LOVE Pea Salad!!  This version is guaranteed to turn Pea Haters in Pea Lovers – even people who aren’t overly fond of peas end up going back for seconds and even thirds. 

Ingredients

  • 1 (14.4 oz.) package of frozen peas  ++ Allow to thaw and drain in a colander.  No need to cook!   ++  2015 – New version.   Microwave peas with 1/4 cup water for a minute – stir. Microwave another minute – stir, then microwave for about 30 more seconds and drain in a colander. (Shaking the colander helps to remove all the water. You don’t want a watery salad!)
  • 1/3 cup celery, diced
  • 1/2 cup red onion, sliced thin 
  • 6 oz. Cheddar (or American) cheese, cut into small cubes   ++  ALTERNATIVE – substitute 1 cup purchased shredded Cheddar cheese … or … shred the cheese yourself for the BEST flavor!  
  • 2 – 3 hard-cooked eggs, sliced thin   
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/4 cup chopped sweet pimentos  
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper

Mix all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl – it’s as easy as that!  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours – or overnight. How’s that for quick and easy?   Enjoy!

Here’s my friend Joanne’s presentation of ‘Pea Salad’ – great job my friend!!

pea salad - Joanne's version

Pea Salad - www.myyellowfarmhouse.com

Chocolate ‘n Walnut Streusel Coffee Cake

 The ingredients for ‘Chocolate ‘n Walnut Streusel Coffee Cake’ are probably already in your cupboard. Plus, it’s quick and easy to prepare!

This recipe makes enough for breakfast or ‘tea time’, with a bit left-over for snacking …. any time of the day.  Coffee cake is not ‘just for breakfast anymore’! ++ YIELD –  approximately 12 pieces   Greased 9 x 9 pan    Oven at 350 F      Bake for 25 – 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/3  to 1/2 cup chopped walnuts  ++ I like a LOT of nuts, so I added 1/2 cup.
  • 1 Tbs. cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar   ++ Packed means the brown sugar is pressed down in the measuring cup – not lightly spooned in.
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbs. softened butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups Bisquick baking mix  ++ I’ve included a recipe for making your own ‘baking mix’ at the end of this post.
  • 3/4 cup milk

small strainer - for coffee cake recipe++ I highly recommend putting a small amount of confectionery (icing) sugar in a strainer and then gently shaking it over the baked & cooled coffee cake. Not only will your coffee cake look nicer but the sugar adds a bit more sweetness. (‘Chocolate ‘n Walnut Streusel Coffee Cake’ isn’t overly sweet.)

Method

Combine 1/3  to 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, 1 Tbs. cocoa powder and 1/4 cup packed brown sugar in a small bowl.  Set aside. In a medium bowl beat 1/2 cup sugar, 2 Tbs. softened butter and 1 tsp. vanilla. Add egg and beat until fully combined. Add 1 (of the 2 cups) of Bisquick to sugar/butter/egg mixture and beat to combine. Add 1/2 the milk and beat to combine, scraping bowl occasionally. Repeat with remaining 1 cup of Bisquick and and rest of the milk.

Spoon half the batter into a greased 9′ x 9′ baking pan.  Sprinkle on the walnut/cocoa powder/brown sugar mixture.  Spoon remaining batter on top. Using a knife, swirl the batter to make a marble pattern.

1 - Chocolate-Walnut Streusel Coffee Cake - myyellowfarmhouse.com2 - Chocolate-Walnut Streusel Coffee Cake  myyellowfarmhouse.com

Spoon remaining batter on top. Using a knife, swirl the batter to make a marble pattern.

3 - Chocolate-Walnut Streusel Coffee Cake myyellowfarmhouse.com4 - Chocolate-Walnut Streusel Coffee Cake myyellowfarmhouse.com

Bake at 350F for 25 – 30 minutes. Check for doneness at 25 minutes by inserting a sharp knife into the center of the coffee cake.  If the knife comes out clean, your coffee cake is fully cooked.

5 - Chocolate-Walnut Streusel Coffee Cake  myyellowfarmhouse.com

Place baking pan on a wire rack to cool coffee cake a bit. ++ The coffee cake doesn’t have to be totally cool before you cut into it…. which is a BIG PLUS!!  (I am sooo bad – I ate three pieces in one go!  The coffee cake was warm, delicious and perfect with a glass of cold milk.)     ENJOY!!

6 - Chocolate-Walnut Streusel Coffee Cake  myyellowfarmhouse.com

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SUBSTITUTE FOR ‘BISQUICK’ BAKING MIX

Yield 6 cups  /   Units US

Ingredients

• 6 cups all-purpose flour • 3 Tbs.baking powder • 2 Tbs. powdered sugar • 1 1/2 tsp. salt • 3⁄4 tsp. baking soda • • 9 Tbs. canola oil

Method

Whisk together 6 cups all-purpose flour, 3 Tbs. baking powder,  2 Tbs. powdered (icing) sugar, 1 1/2 tsp. salt and 3⁄4 tsp. baking soda. Using an electric mixer set on low, slowly mix in canola oil until no lumps remain and mixture is a uniform texture – about a minute.  Store in an airtight container. ++ Recipe for preparing substitute for Bisquick Baking Mix courtesy of – – http://www.food.com/recipe/original-bisquick-baking-mix-copycat-357101

What Happens When Arugula, Baby Spinach, Artichoke Hearts, Kalamata Olives & Parmesan Meet Bowtie Pasta – Creamy Caesar Pasta Salad !

This is NOT one of those Plain-Jane Pasta Salads! There’s tons of flavor from the artichoke hearts, Kalamata olives and Caesar dressing!

I attended a fun Kentucky Derby party yesterday.  Luckily the weather cooperated and it was lovely and sunny outside.  The guests were asked to bring a dish to share and I decided to make some type of salad.  Liking the looks of the Kale Caesar Pasta Salad in the May issue of Good Housekeeping magazine, I riffed off that – and ended up changing pretty much everything.  However, I did stick pretty close to their caesar dressing ingredients ’cause it’s easy and delicious.  (In fact, yesterday one guy returned three times for more of this salad. Now THAT’S a recommendation!!)

I used spinach and arugula instead of the kale called for in the original recipe.  I HIGHLY recommend being sure to add arugula – no matter what other greens you may decide to use!!  The slight peppery flavor of arugula is perfect combined with the artichoke hearts, Kalamata olives and red onion.

+ I know this isn’t a traditional Caesar Salad dressing but it’s not a good idea to eat raw eggs. +

++  Arugula, also known as salad or garden rocket, is one of the nutritious green leafy vegetables of Mediterranean origin.  In fact, when we lived in Malta, we could pick arugula in a meadow or the side of the road. And I believe the British simply call it ‘rocket’.  ++  The young leaves are tender and less peppery than those of a mature plant.

Ingredients
  • 1 (12 oz.) box Farfalle (bowtie) pasta, cooked according to directions –  drained and cooled.
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 6 Tbs. mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. milk
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 (5 oz.) bag spinach/arugula mix  ++  This is the first time I’ve found this mixture.  Otherwise, purchase spinach and mix with equal parts arugula.  
  • 1 (6 oz.) jar brined, PITTED Kalamata olive – drained
  • 1 (12 oz.) jar marinated artichoke hearts – drained and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/3 cup chopped red onion
Method

Cook Farfalle (bowtie) pasta according to package directions but add 1 Tbs. olive oil and 1 tsp. salt to cooking water.  ++ I recommend covering cooked, drained pasta once or twice with cold water to eliminate any heat.   ++ Be sure to drain pasta well.

In a small bowl whisk together 6 Tbs. mayonnaise, 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice, 1/3 freshly grated Parmesan, 1 Tbs. olive oil, 1 Tbs. milk, 1 clove garlic, minced, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper.  Set aside.

Place 1 (5 oz.) bag spinach/arugula mix, 1 (6 oz.) jar brined, PITTED Kalamata olive – drained, 1 (12 oz.) jar marinated artichoke hearts – drained and 1/3 cup chopped red onion in a large salad bowl.

Add cooled cooked pasta.  Mix pasta with greens.  Pour the caesar dressing over all and mix to cover all your salad ingredients.  And that’s all there is to it – your Creamy Caesar Pasta Salad is ready.    ENJOY!!

 Spinach-Arugula Ceasar Pasta Salad with Artichoke Hearts etc  myyellowfarmhouse.com

‘S’Mores Cupcakes’ …. Buttery, Chocolatey, Marshmallow Goodness – No Frosting Needed !!

S'Mores Cupcakes - myyellowfarmhouse.com

These S’Mores Cupcakes are so rich and yummy that I found it very hard to wait ’til I’d finished taking photos so I could have one. (Actually…. I ate  two!!)  As you can see, the milk chocolate pieces on top of the cupcakes are melting. I just couldn’t wait!

I was pleasantly surprised how dense, moist and buttery the cupcakes turned out, and there’s the added yumminess of Marshmallow Fluff and Hershey Bars.  If you like S’Mores – you’re gonna LOVE these!!  In fact, I’d take one (or two) of these S’Mores Cupcakes over actual S’Mores anytime.

I actually baked a totally different recipe for S’Mores Cupcakes last week – but I did NOT like them at all.  So this time I tried something totally different – and something totally unexpected happened.  The Marshmallow Fluff slowly worked its way to the top of the cupcakes – while the milk chocolate chunks sunk to the bottom, which was actually perfect… albeit unplanned!

++ Recipe makes 12 cupcakes!   To make 24, double ingredients BUT do NOT double the salt.  Add 3/4 tsp. salt.
Ingredients
  • 12 paper cupcake tin liners
  • 1 cup graham crackers
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup room-temperature butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar   ++ NOT packed, just spooned into measuring cup
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup milk  ++ I used 2 %
  • 12 heaping tsp. Marshmallow Fluff (marshmallow cream)
  • 4 Hershey bars total  – – 3 broken into pieces and 1 broken into rectangles to be placed on top.
  • ++ Any milk chocolate bar may be substituted for Hershey bars.
Method          Heat oven to 350F   Line 12-cup cupcake tin with paper liners

In medium bowl, whisk together 1 cup graham crackers, 1 cup flour, 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder and 1/2 tsp. salt.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, with mixer set at medium-high, beat butter, 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 cup (NOT packed) brown sugar until light and fluffy – about 2 minutes.

Beat in two eggs – one at a time – then add 1 tsp. vanilla.   ++  Scrape sides of bowl if necessary.

++  I goofed and used a small bowl to beat the eggs & sugar etc.

S'Mores Cupcakes - myyellowfarmhouse.com

Reduce mixer speed to low.  Beginning with dry ingredients, alternate adding dry ingredients and milk to butter/sugar mixture.  Mix until just combined.  Mix in the broken up pieces of Hershey milk chocolate bars.

Put a heaping tablespoon of batter into each paper-lined section.  Place 1 heaping teaspoon Marshmallow Fluff (marshmallow cream) on top of batter – followed by 1 heaping tablespoon of batter.  ++  Divide cupcake batter evenly for best results.

3 - S'Mores Cupcakes - myyellowfarmhouse.com (2)3 - S'Mores Cupcakes - myyellowfarmhouse.com

+

Bake at 350F for 20 – 24 minutes.  ++  My cupcakes were ready in 20 minutes.  The marshmallow cream will have risen to the top and browned slightly.  These S’Mores Cupcakes are so moist they may not look done when they actually are. To test for doneness insert a toothpick, or sharp knife, into the center. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cupcakes are fully cooked.

5 - S'Mores Cupcakes - myyellowfarmhouse.com

Leave cupcakes in tin and allow to cool – on a wire rack – for 10 minutes.  Remove S’Mores Cupcakes  from tin and cool fully…. unless you’re like me and just can’t wait!  When cupcakes are fully cooled, place a rectangle of milk chocolate into the marshmallow topping.  ENJOY!!

Final - S'Mores Cupcakes - myyellowfarmhouse.com

++ Recipe inspired by ‘s’mores cupcakes’ – REALSIMPLE.com – –  July 2014

Mason Jars ‘n More! Sharing Some Outdoor Decorating Ideas I’ve Saved on Pinterest

Happy Spring Everyone!! 

tulips - clipart

The last two days have been simply gorgeous – fierce sunshine accompanied by light breezes.  The daffodils broke out from their winter’s nap and are doing their very best to produce flowers in a few weeks…. which won’t be easy since, last summer, the guy who mows my lawn simply mowed over all the naturalized daffodils living under my big oak tree.  Spring flower bulbs need to absorb a good amount of sunshine through their leaves so they’ll have enough energy to push through the ground the next spring.

++ There’ve been years I’ve made fencing with small twigs and twine to protect (from my lawn mowing guy) the daffodils after they’d bloomed.  Those leave may not look like much – but they should remain until the tips begin to brown.  Only then can you be sure the bulbs will bloom in Full Force for the next spring.

duck in the rain++  I’d really love it if you shared some of your summer decorating ideas in the ‘comments’ section below.  (If you don’t see the comments section, click on the title of this post – which will bring you to another page.)

This morning the sun is hidden behind misty grey clouds and rain is soaking the thirsty perennials and bulbs.  So – I am forced to forget about working outside in my gardens.  Instead, I perused some of the great summer decorating ideas I’ve saved on Pinterest.  I thought you might enjoy seeing a few of these ideas, and that they might inspire you as they have done for me!   Enjoy !! 

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Mason Jars are so versatile… but you already knew that!  You can wrap them in twine and use them as vases – or as utensil holders for buffets or barbeques.  You can have the kids paint flowers on the outside, put a battery-powered ‘candle’ inside and, using florist wire, hang them from the nearest tree.  I’ve also tied raffia or ribbon to the tops of small mason jars and used them as candle holders. 

Mason Jar VASE... with twinePhoto Courtesy of Big Lots

Floating votives - mason jar - courtesy emmalinebride.comhttp://emmalinebride.com/handmade-wedding/mason-jar-centerpieces-floating-candles/

Carnations in Mason Jar - courtesy of catchmyparty. comhttp://catchmyparty.com/photos/553667

Twig Vase - courtesy of Martha Stewarthttp://www.marthastewart.com/270813/twig-vase

outdoor tables from whiskey barrels and glass.

Whiskey Barrel Tables – easy and inexpensive.  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this idea !! 

Eighteen inch Whiskey Barrels, sold at Home Depot, topped with 20′ glass table toppers from Bed, Bath and Beyond.

Viralnova.com is loaded with tons of excellent D.Y. I.outdoor ideas, including these tables.  I suggest you ‘drop by’.

http://www.viralnova.com/diy-backyard-ideas/

I know the idea of placing a pot of flowers on an old chair is nothing new, but I’m finally going to do this  with an old ‘ladies rockerI’ve had for years. A ladies rocker is smaller than most old/antique rockers and there’s no arms on the rocker.

It took me awhile to be able to ‘save’ the photo of the chair on the right – but it was worth the effort.  I love the delicate lines of the back.  And I’ve been inspired to use yet another item from my barn – an old dining room chair.  Which means, if I actually get to it, I may have the ladies rocker in one area of my garden and the old dining room chair on my back porch.  (I’ll post photos of both, I promise.)

++ Follow link for directions to turn an old cane-seated chair into a flower display.    http://tparty.typepad.com/the_tcozy/2008/04/a-chair-of-flow.html   (Uses chicken wire and sphagnum moss.) 

ladies rocker - courtesy of wikiart.comChair with Flowers - courtesy of http://tparty.typepad.com/the_tcozy/2008/04/a-chair-of-flow.html

To get the effect below, I suggest buying a hanging planter & removing the hanger.
And don’t forget, occasionally, to give all your potted plants a good dose of plant food !
courtesy of - media cache - pinterest.com
I hope these ideas have inspired you a bit – especially on a dark and dreary day such as today!

++ Woman in (Ladies) Rocking Chair – courtesy of  www.wikiart.org

Mini Shepherd’s Pies (Also known as Cottage Pies)

Mini Shepherds Pies - - and I do mean 'pies'!  www.myyellowfarmhouse.com

If you have parchment paper, place a strip, long enough so that it hangs out on each side, in each section of the muffin tin.  This will help when you remove the mini pies.

I had planned to share these with my neighbors…. but ended up eating them all – that’s how much I love them!  I based both the ground beef filling and creamy mashed potatoes on my recipe for Shepherds Pie, with a few adjustments.   – –  https://myyellowfarmhouse.com/2013/01/10/shepherds-pie/

Mini Shepherds Pies are easy to make!  The recipe calls for purchased pie crust and – if you’re short on time – a 24 oz. container of ready-to-eat mashed potatoes can be used.  Making these mini pies is fun and easy – and so is eating them.

Ingredients and Method
  • 1 box refrigerated pie crusts
  • 24 oz. refrigerated mashed potatoes  –  OR  –  homemade mashed potatoes
  • Homemade Mashed Potatoes
  • 5 cups cubed Yukon Gold potatoes   ++ Peeled and cut into 2″ chunks
  •  3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 2 – 3 Tbs. butter
  • 1/3+ cup milk or Half and Half     ++  I used Half and Half
  • Ground Beef & Vegetable Filling
  • 1 Tbs. butter or olive oil
  • 1/2 medium-sized onion, chopped  ++ About 1/3 cup
  • 1/2 lb. ground (minced) beef  ++ I used 80%
  • 3/4 cup frozen corn     ++ No need to thaw
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas    ++ No need to thaw
  • 1 Tbs. tomato paste    ++ Freeze tomato paste in 1 Tbs. portions in a ziploc bag. 
  • 1 beef or chicken bouillon cube
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 tsp. pepper

Place 5 cups chopped, peeled Yukon Gold potatoes in a medium-sized saucepan.  Add enough cold water to cover.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Lower heat and cover saucepan. Allow potatoes to simmer for 25 – 30 minutes or until potatoes can easily be pierced with a sharp knife.  ++  It’s better to cook the potatoes longer than end up with lumpy potatoes!!  I know – Been There – Done That!

Mini Shepherds Pies - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

While potatoes are cooking, begin beef/veggie filling.  Place 1 Tbs. butter In a large non-stick skillet.  Add 1/3 cup chopped onion. Cook onions, stirring often, over medium heat until they soften.  Add 1/2 pound chopped (minced) beef.  Continue to cook until beef loses its pink color.  ++ Break up any large chunks of beef.   ++  Remove any extra grease, although I leave about 2 Tbs. – for the flavor.

Add 3/4 cup still-frozen corn and 3/4 cup still-frozen peas, 1/3 cup water, 1 Tbs. tomato paste, 3/4 tsp. salt, 1/3 tsp. pepper and either a chicken or beef bouillon cube.

Mini Shepherds (Cottage) Pies - myyellowfarmhouse.com (2)

Continue cooking, stirring often, for an additional 4 to 5 minutes… until most of the liquid has been absorbed.  Set aside.

Now it’s time for the mini-pie crusts.  This is fun!  ++  Remove the pie crusts from the refrigerator about 15 minutes before so the crusts will be soft enough to work with.

Unroll pie crusts. Roll each crust into a 12″ circle, which only takes a second ’cause the crusts are almost that big already.  Using a 4″ circle (I used the 4″ top of a plastic food container – or you could use a piece of cardboard) cut out 12 circles.

Mini Shepherds Pies - My Yellow Farmhouse.comMini Shepherds Pies - My Yellow Farmhouse.com (2)

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Place one pie crust circle in each of the sections of a 12-cup muffin tin.  Gently press pie crust to fit.

Bake at 400F for 8 minutes.  ++ Lower oven temperature to 350F once you’ve removed muffin tin with bottom crusts from oven.

Finishing the mashed potatoes

Mini Shepherds  Pies - - and I do mean 'pies'!

Drain cooked potatoes. Mash down with a potato masher.  Add 2 – 3 Tbs. butter, 3/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper and approximately 1/3 cup milk – or ‘Half ‘n Half‘ – or Single Cream – and beat with a mixer until the potatoes are creamy but still stiff enough to hold their shape on top of the beef filling.

Putting it all together

Mini Shepherds Pies - My Yellow Farmhouse.com (3)

Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, put a portion of the meat/vegetable filling in each section.  Top with 1/4 cup mashed potatoes.  ++ If you have extra mashed potatoes, add a bit more to each mini-pie.

Sprinkle with a bit of paprika to give the Mini Shepherds Pies a bit of color.  You know, part of finding a particular food delicious is often due to it’s color, so adding a bit of paprika not only makes things taste better but also gives them better eye-appeal.  You can also sprinkle on a bit of cheese!

Mini Shepherds Pies - - and I do mean 'pies'!  myyellowfarmhouse.comMini Shepherds Pies - - and I do mean 'pies'!  myyellowfarmhouse.com

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Bake the Mini-Shepherds Pies at  350F  for 25 – 30 minutes.  Potatoes and crust will be slightly browned.     

++ Let stand 10 minutes before serving, which helps the pie crust to not fall apart when you remove the mini-pies.  Enjoy !!

Mini Shepherds Pies - and I do mean 'pies'!  www.myyellowfarmhouse.com

++  Recipe adapted from myfridgefood.com/recipes/entree-beef/mini-meat-pies

Toffee Ice Cream Pie with Homemade Cookie Crust and Caramel Sauce

I just learned something….Toffee is basically sugar and butter. Caramel is sugar and cream or milk, with butter occasionally in the mix.  How about that?!
This was fun to make. But – if you’re short of time, you could buy a vanilla cookie crust and some caramel sauce.

This is actually my second attempt at making this pie! If you read my last post, I quoted Roseanne Roseannadana, “It’s always something. If it’s not one thing, it’s another.” And the ‘one thing’ happened to be that I fell and badly banged my head and sprained my wrist.  And the ‘other thing’ is that I ‘totaled’ the first version of this pie.  As I was placing my finished pie into the freezer, I scraped off about half the toffee candy and homemade caramel sauce on the ice maker. I attempted to repair the damage …. but the Toffee Ice Cream Pie with Homemade Cookie Crust and Caramel Sauce just didn’t look right.  So, today, I made another pie.       And this version is perfect! 

Ingredients
  • CRUST INGREDIENTS
  • 1 1/2 cups ground ‘Nilla Wafers – – or any other soft vanilla cookie
  • 2 Tbs. sugar
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • CARAMEL SAUCE INGREDIENTS
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar      ++ NOT packed !!
  • 1/4 cup dark Karo syrup
  • 1/2 cup heavy or whipping cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • PLUS….
  • 1 pie pan      ++  NOT a deep dish pie pan
  • a quart of toffee crunch ice cream – slightly softened  
  • 2 English toffee bars, such as Heath, Score or Daim, broken into small pieces
Method

CRUST – Combine 1 1/2 cups ‘Nilla Wafer crumbs, 2 Tbs. sugar and 1/3 cup melted butter in a medium bowl. Press crust mixture firmly on the bottom and sides of an 8′ or 9’ pie pan.  ++  I used a measuring cup today to press down the crust – and it came out much nicer than my first attempt!

1 -Toffee Ice Cream Pie with 'Nilla Wafer Crust - myyellowfarmhouse.com6 -Toffee Ice Cream Pie with 'Nilla Wafer Crust and Homemade Caramel Sauce

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CARAMEL SAUCE In a medium saucepan melt 1/4 cup butter over medium-high heat until it melts.  Add 1 cup light brown sugar  (NOT packed !!) and 1/4 cup dark Karo syrup.  Bring to a boil, stirring the whole time. Lower heat to medium and continue to boil – stirring – for about 4 minutes.

Toffee Ice Cream Pie with 'Nilla Wafer Crust - myyellowfarmhouse.com

Reduce heat to low.  Stir in 1/2 cup heavy or whipping cream and 1 tsp. vanilla extract. Cook, stirring, for another minute.

Your finished product should look something like this.    ++ It’s best to leave the sauce in the saucepan, I just did this for ‘photographic purposes’ !

3 -Toffee Ice Cream Pie with 'Nilla Wafer Crust - myyellowfarmhouse.com

Place crust in freezer for 20 minutes.    Remove pie crust from freezer.     Drizzle about 2/3s of the caramel sauce over the pie crust.   ++  If your cookie crust isn’t too cold, you’ll be able to spread the caramel sauce.  Otherwise, just drizzle the caramel sauce onto the crust.

Toffee Ice Cream Pie - myyellowfarmhouse.com

Spread enough softened ice cream to fill the crust.

7- Toffee Ice Cream Pie with 'Nilla Wafer Crust and Homemade Caramel Sauce

Sprinkle broken up pieces of toffee candy on top of the ice cream. Drizzle the remaining caramel sauce over the candy bits.

++ The caramel sauce came out a bit too thin on my 1st try…. and it was a bit thick on my 2nd try – but it didn’t matter !!  When it was too thin, I put it in the fridge for a bit, and when it was too thick, I just added a bit of the heavy cream and gently rewarmed it.

Return pie to freezer for about 6 hours – or overnight.  ++  Pie will be easier to cut if you allow it to sit out for a few minutes after removing it from the freezer.   ENJOY !!

8 -Toffee Ice Cream Pie - myyellowfarmhouse.com (3)2nd - Toffee Ice Cream Pie with Homemade Cookie Crust and Caramel Sauce - myyellowfarmhouse.com

++  Recipe adapted from http://www.kitchendaily.com/recipe/nilla-ice-cream-pie

Balsamic, Honey, Soy Sauce & Garlic Marinated Chicken Thighs

Balsamic, Honey, Soy Sauce and Garlic Chicken

Balsamic, Honey, Soy Sauce and Garlic Marinated Chicken (thighs and breast) can be served at room temperature – perfect for a picnic or buffet !  Prefer to grill the chicken – the marinade will help keep the meat juicy.

You know, I’d never really cooked with balsamic vinegar until today – so this recipe is my very first time preparing anything with balsamic vinegar… and I’m seriously wondering What Took Me So Long?  (My son M. prepares a delicious pasta dish featuring a balsamic vinegar reduction and fresh asparagus.  I’m gonna have to ask him to do a Guest Post for me so I can share his excellent recipe.)

As with many things, the higher the price –  the better the product.  And so it is with balsamic vinegar.   I suggest buying a good quality vinegar, even if you have to pay more.  It will be worth it !  Here’s a link to Andrew Wheeler’s blog Serious Eats which provides some valuable information regarding balsamic vinegar.

http://www.seriouseats.com/2014/05/everything-you-need-to-know-guide-to-balsamic-vinegar.html

I used skinless chicken thighs today because, to me, the meat much more flavorful than chicken breast.  And don’t be put off by thinking you’ll be eating dark meat – chicken thigh is, pretty much, white meat!  If you prefer chicken breast, cut each piece in half.

For grilling, chicken pieces with the skin attached will help keep the meat from drying out – as will marinating the chicken.

small red heart

Oven at 400F          Bake chicken pieces for about 30 minutes. 

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. honey
  • 4 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 4 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 – 3 Tbs. minced garlic     ++   I use 3 Tbs.because I LOVE garlic!
  • 3 Tbs. finely chopped fresh parsley   ++  I chop it and then freeze it in a ziploc bag.
  • a bit of freshly ground pepper
  • 8 chicken thighs – skin removed
  • Prefer Chicken Breasts?   4 large boneless chicken breasts – cut in half to equal 8 pieces
  • some toasted sesame seeds – perhaps 2 tsp. & some minced fresh parsley, to sprinkle over finished dish

METHOD

Place 3 Tbs. balsamic vinegar, 2 Tbs. honey, 4 Tbs. soy sauce, 4 Tbs. olive oil, 2 – 3 Tbs. minced garlic, 3 Tbs. finely chopped fresh parsley and a bit of freshly ground pepper into a gallon-sized ziplock bag.

Zip bag and shake bag to mix ingredients.  Add the chicken pieces.  Allow chicken to marinate for at least four hours – overnight is even better.

++ I recommend turning the bag a few times to ensure each piece of chicken gets to soak in the marinade.  ++  If possible, lie the bag down so all the chicken pieces are sitting in the marinade.

Line a baking sheet (cookie sheet with sides) with aluminum foil.  Place chicken pieces evenly on baking sheet and pour over ALL the marinade. Cook in preheated oven set at 400F for 30 minutes.

Once the chicken is thoroughly cooked, place it on a warmed platter.  Pour the marinade into a small saucepan and simmer until marinade is reduced and thoroughly heated through.  Pour marinade over chicken pieces.  Sprinkle with some toasted sesame seeds and minced fresh parsley.  Enjoy !!

++ Recipe inspired by ‘Beyond Kimchee’ – – – http://www.beyondkimchee.com/soy-balsamic-chicken-thighs-asparagus/ 

Balsamic, Honey, Soy Sauce and Garlic Chicken - myyellowfarmhouse.com

To quote Roseanne Roseanadana, “It’s always something. If it isn’t one thing – it’s another!”

Roseanne Rosannadana

I could’ve titled this post ‘The Pie that Didn’t Make It’….  or “The Terrible, No-Good, Very Bad Pie Day”… but you get the idea.

I had planned to ‘kill two birds with one stone’ when I chose to make a Toffee Ice Cream Pie for a party I was attending, but, as often happens, my day did NOT go as planned.  And the final result of my Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Pie Day necessitated a visit to the ER the next morning.l

Like many of you, I’m constantly saving recipes on Pinterest, so I decided to find a super yummy dessert recipe.  And I did, namely Toffee Ice Cream Pie, which features a ‘Nilla Wafer’ crust, ice cream (I used Butter Pecan simply because I love it), crushed toffee candy bars and a delicious homemade caramel sauce.

The cookie crumb and butter crust came together easily. Then I prepared the caramel sauce while the cookie crumb pie crust cooled for a bit in the freezer.

Once the sauce has cooled a bit, a good amount of that fabulous caramel sauce is poured over the crust, then slightly-softened ice cream is added.

Toffee Ice Cream Pie - myyellowfarmhouse.com

My overly-softened ice cream began to melt as I was taking a few photos, so I hurriedly sprinkled on the crushed toffee candy and put the pie into the freezer for a few minutes before I drizzled on the rest of the caramel sauce.

Now here comes the bad/sad part – I wiped out the top of the pie as I put it in the freezer.

Half of all that  buttery caramel, toffee candy, ice creamy goodness was left dripping from the bottom of my ice cube maker, where it immediately began to freeze.

I tried repairing the damage and photographing the pie while at the party but, although absolutely delicious, it looked like a disaster.

And now I come to the part of my day where I did a serious, no-holds-barred face-plant into my hosts’ front door – which resulted in me sleeping in pain that night and going to the emergency room the next morning.  As I trotted up my friends’ front steps, my boot failed to clear the top.  I stumbled forward a few feet, hit the front door with my face and fell backwards like a turtle. I ended up with an instant bump on my head, which is still there. Of course, both my hands were injured in my futile attempt to save myself.

Luckily nothing was broken (as it turned out, I had broken a bone in my left hand…) but my right hand is now in a removable splint and looks like a small, fat balloon.   ++ I should never be put in anything removable ‘cause I end up doing a lot of removing.

I’m going to make another ‘Toffee Ice Cream Pie’ within a day or two & I’ll post the recipe. (Of course, making another pie will necessitate removing my splint.)     ; o )

++  The ‘do-over’ turned out just fine!! Here’s the recipe!  ++

Toffee Ice Cream Pie with Homemade Cookie Crust and Caramel Sauce - myyellowfarmhouse.com

Slightly-Spicy Three Bean, Tomato and Kale Soup

This soup has the richness of a minestrone and the benefit of being Good forYou!
For some extra ‘zing’ – right before serving – sprinkle soup with a bit of Italian Three-Cheese Blend  (Parmesan, Asiago & Romano).

Every time I develop a new recipe, I’m always hoping the end result equals the flavors I’d envisioned.  And I must say I’m very pleased with this Slightly-Spicy Three Bean, Tomato and Kale Soup.  It’s super easy to prepare and makes quite a bit, which is always a plus. Simmering this soup for an hour allows the peppery flavor of the kale to stand out, and the broth becomes slightly creamy due to starches in the kidney, black and garbanzo beans. ++  I decided not to add any meat to this soup, but, of course, you could add some chopped chicken or beef if you choose.  But this soup is so hearty, I think you really won’t miss the meat at all !

INGREDIENTS
  • 3/4 cup roughly chopped red pepper
  • 3/4 cup roughly chopped red onion
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups kale, roughly chopped      ++ Cut out the thick stems running down the center of the leaf.
  • 1 can (15.5 oz.) kidney beans – drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (15.5 oz) black beans – drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (15.5. oz.) garbanzo beans – drained and rinsed
  • 1 (48 oz.) container chicken broth – PLUS – another 2 cups   ++ The extra 2 cups can be replaced by 2 cups water and 2 bouillon cubes. ++  If using ‘Knorr’ chicken bouillon cubes, you’ll only need 1.
  • 1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes with Italian herbs   ++  I like ‘Contadina’
  • 3/4 tsp. salt – or to taste
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. Italian seasonings  ++ Or a mixture of oregano, basil, thyme, sage & rosemary
  • ++  Italian Three-Cheese Blend – OR – any type of Italian grated cheese to sprinkle on top
METHOD

In a large Dutch Oven (or large cooking pot such as you would use to boil pasta) cook 3/4 cup roughly chopped red pepper and 3/4 cup roughly chopped red onion in 2 Tbs. olive oil over medium heat for 3 – 4 minutes… or until veggies begin to look translucent.  ++ There’s no need to worry about under-cooking or over-cooking the red pepper or onion, they’ll finish cooking in the broth. Add 2 large cloves garlic, minced – continue cooking for about another minute.

Slightly-Spicy Three Bean and Kale Soup  - myyellowfarmhouse.com

Add 1 can (15.5 oz.) kidney beans – drained and rinsed, 1 can (15.5 oz) black beans – drained and rinsed and 1 can (15.5. oz.) garbanzo beans – drained and rinsed

Slightly-Spicy Three Bean, Tomato and Kale Soup - myyellowfarmhouse.com Removing ribs from kale - photo courtesy food52.com

Now add 3 cups roughly chopped kale, stems removed. Pour in one container (48 oz.) of purchased chicken broth plus 2 cups.  ++ As mentioned above, the extra 2 cups can be 2 cups of water and a chicken bouillon cube.  (Or, if you have it, 8 cups homemade chicken broth).  

Add the contents of 1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes with Italian herbs – and you’re almost there!!

Add spices;  3/4 tsp. salt (or to taste), 1/8 tsp. black pepper, 1/4 tsp. chili powder, 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper and 1/2 tsp. Italian seasonings. Bring soup to a boil, lower heat and simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally.    ++ No need to cover pot.

Slightyly Spicy Three Bean, Tomato and Kale Soup - myyellowfarmhouse.com

Waiting for soup to come to a simmer….

After about an hour…. that is, if you’ve been able to wait for the full hour ….. you’ll have a big pot of yummy soup to share with your neighbors.  Which is what I love to do.    PS  I also shared some of my Honey Walnut Bread, which I just L.O.V.E.  – recipe for that coming soon.   ENJOY !!

1 - Slightly-Spicey Three Bean, Tomato and Kale Soup - myyellowfarmhouse.com

++ Photo credit for ‘prepping kale’ goes to http://food52.com/blog/8211-how-to-prep-kale. I highly recommend food52.com – it’s full of terrific ideas and advice !!

‘A Little Help from My Friends’ Ham, Chicken and Potato Bake

++ If you wish, this casserole can be prepared using just chicken or ham.  It could also be prepared with a few cans of drained tuna !!

Ham, Chicken and Potato Bake’ comes together quickly thanks to the use of frozen hash brown potatoes. (I like Potatoes O’Brien hash browns because they already include red pepper and onion.)  Thaw the potatoes in your microwave, allow to drain – and they’re ready to go.  No cooking and no peeling!

After scattering the potatoes on the bottom of a 9′ x 13′ casserole dish, chunks of cooked chicken and ham are added, along with sweet red pepper, mushrooms and a touch of garlic.  A quickly-prepared sauce is poured over all, followed by a sprinkling of three-cheese mix (Parmesan, Romano and Asiago) and some sliced almonds.  Bake the casserole at 350F for about for 50 – 60 minutes and get ready for some Good Eaten’ !!

INGREDIENTS         Bake in 350F oven for 50 – 60 minutes

  • 1 pkg (28 oz) frozen Potatoes O’Brien – thawed  — OR —  1 pkg. (32 oz.) frozen cubed hash browns – thawed
  • 2 cups cooked chicken cut into bite-sized pieces  ++ If you don’t happen to have cooked chicken, in a small covered skillet simmer 1 boneless chicken breast in 1/4 water or broth until fully cooked. Cut into bite-sized pieces.
  • 2 cups ham, cut into bite-sized pieces = (10 oz) ham steak      ++  Most hams are now water-injected…. If the ham seems ‘drippy’ place between paper towels and squeeze out some of the moisture.
  • 1 small pkg. (10 oz.) cremini  (or button) mushrooms, sliced       ++ If there are any specs of dirt on the mushrooms, wipe with a paper towel.  Do NOT wash under running water.  Mushrooms are like little sponges!
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 chopped sweet red pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 can condensed cream of chicken or mushroom soup, undiluted
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube, crumbled
  • 3/4 to 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh parsley     ++  Fresh parsley can be chopped, then frozen in a small storage bag.  Simply break off what you need !!
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • a bit of parsley – to sprinkle on top
  • paprika – to sprinkle on top for color

METHOD

Spread thawed Potatoes O’Brien evenly on the bottom of a 9′ x 13′ casserole.

Ham, Chicken and Potato Bake - www.myyellowfarmhouse.com (2)

Add cooked chicken and ham pieces.

Ham, Chicken and Potato Bake - myyellowfarmhouse.com

Place 1 Tbs. butter in a large skillet and cook sliced mushrooms, stirring, until mushrooms wilt.  Remove mushrooms and set aside while you cook the 1/4 chopped onion and 1/4 cup chopped sweet red pepper.  Cook onion and pepper until softened.  Add 1 clove minced garlic.  Continue to cook a minute more, until garlic softens.

Spread cooked mushrooms, onion, red pepper and garlic over ham and chicken.

Sauce – –  In a medium-sized bowl mix 1 cup sour cream, 1 can condensed cream of chicken (or mushroom soup), 1 chicken bouillon cube, crumbled, 3/4 to 1 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper, 1 tsp. chopped fresh parsley and  1 1/2 cups chicken broth until well blended.  Pour over ingredients already in casserole.

Sprinkle with 2/3 cup three-cheese-blend   ++ Or any mixture of Parmesan and other cheeses.  Add 1/2 cup sliced almonds and a bit more chopped fresh parsley.  Sprinkle with some paprika.

Ham, Chicken and Potato Bake - - myyellowfarmhouse.com

Bake at 350F for 50 – 60 minutes – until sauce bubbles around edges of casserole.  Allow casserole to sit for 5 – 10 minutes and serve.  Enjoy!!

 Ham, Chicken and Potato Bake - www.myyellowfarmhouse.com

‘A Little Help from My Friends’ Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes with Whipped Chocolate Frosting

Sweet Little ‘G’… who happens to be a big fan of Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes.  (Notice she ate the ENTIRE cupcake…. but left the blueberries!)
Little G. - The Happy Chocolate Cupcake Eater
– – – – – –

I like to use the title ‘A Little Help from My Friends’ when a recipe utilizes prepared mixes etc.  With ‘A Little Help from My Friends’ you can whip up something delicious in very little time – yet the result tastes as if you’d ‘slaved away’ !!

My recipe for Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes with Whipped Chocolate Frosting includes a chocolate cake mix prepared with raspberry jam.  Your friends and family will be surprised to learn the delicious chocolate frosting is simply whipped topping mixed with cocoa powder and vanilla.

For a more ‘adult taste, you can add some Chambord liqueur – OR – add a few tablespoons of dark rum.  As they say in New York City, “What’s not to like!?”

Today is Valentine’s Day and I plan to share some of my Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes with Whipped Chocolate Frosting with friends as a special Valentine’s treat.   Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you.

INGREDIENTS  FOR CUPCAKES         Yield = 18 large cupcakes     For 24 cupcakes, fill  sections with less cake mix 
  • one Dark Chocolate cake mix… prepared according to directions
  • 1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
  • +++  If adding Chambord or dark rum  – substitute 1/4 cup Chambord or dark rum for 1/4 cup of the water.  ++  Up to 1/2 cup Chambord or dark rum can be substituted for water.

Prepare Dark Chocolate cake mix according to directions – but remove 2 Tbs. water from the amount of water called for in the recipe.  Add 1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam. Mix cupcake batter on low to blend ingredients – then beat 2 minutes until batter is smooth. Line cupcake tins with cupcake liners OR lightly grease each section.  Fill each section 3/4s full.   Bake cupcakes according to package directions.  

++ I find it really helps to use a small measuring cup to scoop out the batter and fill the sections.

++  The cupcakes liners I used are called ‘Parchment Lotus Cups’.  They’re sold by ‘PaperChef’.

Remove cupcakes from baking pan and allow to cool on a rack for 20 – 25 minutes – or until cupcakes no longer feel warm.    ++  To test if cupcakes are done, insert a sharp knife or toothpick into the center. If knife or toothpick comes out clean – the cupcakes are ready.

INGREDIENTS FOR WHIPPED CHOCOLATE FROSTING
  • 2 (8 oz.) containers of ‘Cool Whip’ whipped topping
  • 6 Tbs. cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Place 2 (8 oz.) containers of ‘Cool Whip’ whipped topping into a medium-sized bowl, along with 5 – 6 Tbs. cocoa powder and 1 tsp. vanilla extract in a medium-sized bowl. Mix with a large spoon until well-combined.     ++  A bit of confectionery/powdered/ icing sugar can be added if you wish.  Spread whipped frosting on cupcakes and that’s it.    Talk about ‘Quick, Easy and Good’    Enjoy!

Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes with Whipped Chocolate Frosting - www.myyellowfarmhouse.com

Has Anyone Heard Anything from ‘ChgoJohn’ of ‘The Bartolini Kitchens’?

ChgoJohn

This is a highly unusual post…  John (ChgoJohn) of ‘The Bartolini Kitchens’ hasn’t posted anything since December 24th.  I’ve sent him a few emails, yet I haven’t heard from him.  And he unfailingly returns my emails within a day or two.  And – if he plans to ‘close the kitchens’ because he’s traveling – he always let us, his readers, know.   Which makes me wonder if John’ beloved Zia might be ill…

I know so many people, including myself, have come to love John and consider him a friend.  He always has the best ‘tales to tell’ and posts (as many of you know) the most fantastic recipes which have been handed down to him by his mother and his Zia – John’s mother’s sister.

For those of you who aren’t followers of John’s blog – here’s a wonderful post from November 29th, 2014.  The post shows both John’s sense of humor and his warmth – and his love for Zia… because November 29th was Zia’s birthday.

http://fromthebartolinikitchens.com/category/3-non-recipe-posts/personal/

Please post a comment if you’ve heard from John – thanks!

“Khobz’ – Moroccan Bread ++ Quick & Easy ++ Dough only needs to rise once!

Khobz - Moroccan Bread - myyellowfarmhouse.com (2)

I purchased this beautifully hand-painted blue and white platter in Casablanca.  It’s one of my favorites!

I truly enjoy making different kinds of bread!  It amazes me how something so comforting and delicious comes out of playing around with some flour, salt and sugar etc.  It also amazes me how many different types of bread there are in the world. One of my favorite memories took place in India on New Year’s Eve years ago, where we saw men (fearless men!) slapping Naan onto the sides of a tandoor oven with their bare hands.

And, on a visit to Cairo, we saw women sitting on the ground cooking bread on large, flat stones.  That bread was, like Naan, a flat-bread but with a whole different – and wonderful – taste.

Egyptian Flat Bread - courtesy of Egyptian Food Recipes.com

++  Curious about ‘Breads of the World’ – here’s a great site!    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_breads

Interestingly enough, bread in Malta is called ‘Hobz’ (Ħobż Malti).  Ħobż Malti is dense, heavy bread which makes wonderful sandwiches.  Malta was ruled by Arabs for quite a long time, and the Maltese language contains many words derived from (or exactly the same as) Arabic.  So, it’s not too surprising that the Arabic word for bread is ‘Khobz’ and the Maltese word is Hobz.

When we lived in Malta I wrote a small book about the country’s long and varied history.  And let me tell you, Malta’s history, including rule by the Knights of St. John (better known today as The Knights of Malta) is fascinating!

Maltese Hobz -  courtesy of 'honeyandmustard.wordpress.com

One of the best sandwiches I’ve ever eaten is called Hobz Biz-zejt.  There are times when The Whole Equals More Than the Sum of It’s Parts and this is sure one of those times!!   Hobz Biz-zejt can be recreated with another type of crusty bread, but it just won’t be quite the same…   Here’s a link if you’d like to make these sandwiches at home.  (I just started following this blog!)

https://honeyandmustard.wordpress.com/2011/05/13/maltese-traditional-hobz-biz-zejt/

I know you’re going to enjoy Khobz.  It’s easy to make.  The recipe makes two loaves.  And – best of all – Khobz only needs one rising.

– – – –

INGREDIENTS      Oven at 435F      Bake for 20 minutes     ++ Switch position of baking sheets after first 10 minutes

  • 4 cups flour
  • 2  tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbs. yeast
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water   ++  Water should feel warmer than your skin.  Try pouring a bit on your wrist to check.  If the water’s too cold – or too hot – the yeast won’t work properly and the bread won’t rise. 
  • olive oil  – – to spread on baking sheets – and – to drizzle on bread both before and after baking

METHOD

Prepare 2 baking sheets by pouring 1/2 tsp. olive oil in the center of each baking sheet.  Spread oil, using fingers, to make a 5″ – 6″ circle .     ++ You can skip the olive oil and use cornmeal…. but, to me, cornmeal doesn’t seem very authentic. Place 4 cups flour, 2  tsp. salt and 2 tsp. sugar in a large bowl.  Stir to combine.

Make a well in the center.   Place 1 Tbs. yeast in the center.  Gently pour 2 Tbs. olive oil and 1 1/4 cups warm water into the well and mix together to dissolve yeast.  Then mix entire contents of bowl until flour mixture has been incorporated.     

++  It may seem, at first, like you’ll never be able to get all the flour incorporated – just work at it a bit and it’ll all come together!   

Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead dough for 10 minutes, adding a bit more flour if necessary.  After kneading for 10 minutes dough should be soft and pliable. ++  Here’s an excellent link to learn how to knead bread –   http://bread.wonderhowto.com/how-to/knead-bread-dough-by-hand-355638/ After dough is kneaded, form into a ball.

              Divide dough into halves.         .

Khobz - Moroccan Bread - - www.myyellowfarmhouse.com

Shape each portion into a smooth, circular mound.

khobz - Moroccan Bread - myyellowfarmhouse.com (4)

Place dough onto prepared baking sheets.  Cover with towels.  Allow to rest for 10 minutes.

Khobz - Moroccan Bread - myyellowfarmhouse.com

After 10 minutes, flatten dough using the palm your hand to form two – 7″ circles.

Khobz - Moroccan Bread - www.myyellowfarmhouse.com (3)

Once again, cover dough with towels. Allow dough to rise for an hour – or until dough springs back when pressed lightly with a finger.

Khobz - Moroccan Bread - myyellowfarmhouse.com

After dough has risen, poke here and there with a fork.  Drizzle on a bit of olive oil and spread with your fingers (which is what I do) or use a spoon.

Khobz - Moroccan Bread - www.myyellowfarmhouse.com (4)

++ Raise bottom oven rack up one level     Bake bread at 435F for 20 minutes – – rotating baking sheets halfway through cooking time (at the 10 minute mark). Loaves should be browned and sound hollow when tapped.    ++  Don’t be afraid to take bread out a minute or two early  – oven temperatures can vary widely.

Remove loaves from baking sheets and allow to cool on wire racks.  At this point I like to drizzle on more olive oil and spread it over the crust – because I think it makes most-any bread look better.   Enjoy !!

Khobz - Moroccan White Bread -- www.myyellowfarmhouse.com (3)

—-

  ‘Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Sweet Potatoes’ 

Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Sweet Potatoes and Dates - - myyellowfarmhous.com

https://myyellowfarmhouse.com/2015/02/03/moroccan-chicken-tangine-with-sweet-potatoes/

And, to complete your meal, how about ‘Couscous with Raisins and Pine Nuts’

Moroccan Chicken and Couscous - myyellowfarmhouse.com

  https://myyellowfarmhouse.com/2014/03/10/moroccan-chicken-couscous-with-raisins-and-slivered-almonds/ 

Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Sweet Potatoes (Does NOT have to be cooked in a tagine!)

Moroccan Chicken and Rice Pilaf - - myyellowfarmhouse.com

Moroccan Chicken and Sweet Potatoes -- myyellowfarmhouse.com

Today it snowed almost all day long, so it was a perfect day to prepare a dish which simmers away in the oven, filling your kitchen with the scent of cardamom, cinnamon, turmeric and ginger!

I’m not proud to say I actually received my beautiful tagine as a gift LAST Christmas.  (I’ve told you I’m a procrastinator..)  There’s no excuse for waiting so long to ‘try it out’. It’s not as if I don’t see the tangine every day, sitting and waiting patiently on the lower shelf of the buffet in my kitchen…

tangine - kitchen buffet - myyellowfarmhouse.com

Moroccan Chicken Tagine can be be cooked several different ways; 1. In a tangine – cooked in the oven.  2.  In a tangine, cooked on very low heat on top of the stove.  3.  In a covered casserole – cooked in the oven.  4.  In a large saucepan or Dutch Oven – either in the oven (if pan has heatproof handles) or on top of the stove.

Whichever way you chose to cook Moroccan Chicken Tagine, you’re in for a treat.  And, except for frying up the onions and garlic in a skillet, you have a one pot meal with no mess in the kitchen. If you’re lucky enough to have a tagine, you can proudly present your Moroccan meal served right from your tagine.                

++  Tagines, according to my research, range in size from 8″ to 16″.  Actually, mine is only 7″ across at the base but it’s deep, so I was able to able to put in 8 boneless & skinless chicken thighs, plus 2 large cut-up sweet potatoes.

++ Be sure to learn how to use your tagine if you’ve never cooked with one before!  (The terracotta ones need special care.)   ++ Here’s a link to a great website which we could call “All You Ever Wanted to Know About Tangines” !  http://moroccanfood.about.com/od/moroccanfood101/f/How-to-Use-Tagine.htm

Love Moroccan? Here’s another recipe – plus Couscous with Raisins and Sliced Almonds

Moroccan Chicken and Couscous - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

‘Never Fail’ Armenian Rice Pilaf

Moroccan Chicken and Rice Pilaf - - myyellowfarmhouse.com

++ Start tagine in a cold oven

++ Place oven rack at 2nd lowest level. 

INGREDIENTS       Oven at 325 (F)      Cook for 2 hours.   If cooking on top of stove in a saucepan or Dutch Oven, be sure to just ‘simmer’ the tangine.

  • 6 – 8 boneless/skinless chicken THIGHS
  • 2 – 3 medium sweet potatoes – peeled and cut into eighths.   ++  My tangine is small, so I only used 2 medium sweet potatoes.  They turned out soo yummy cooked this way that I plan to try to cram more in next time!! 
  •  2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, sliced      ++  About 2 cups
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, minced or finely chopped   ++  Warm garlic cloves in microwave for 10 – 15 seconds, which helps remove papery covering on garlic cloves.
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander      ++  I used 1 tsp. minced fresh cilantro, which are the leaves of the same plant.  In fact, coriander comes from the seeds.
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. cardamom
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped dates    (You can purchase chopped dates – BIG time saver!)
  • 1 cup HOT chicken broth    ++  Can also use 1 CUP HOT water and one bouillon cube.

METHOD

Arrange boneless/skinless chicken thighs in one layer on bottom of tagine.   ++  I folded the loose bits under, which looks a bit nicer and helps the chicken cook evenly.

Moroccan Chicken Tagine - www.myyellowfarmhouse.com

Put the following spices in a small dish or glass and set aside; 1/2 tsp. ground ginger, 1 tsp. ground cinnamon, 1/2 ground turmeric, 1 tsp. ground coriander (or 1 tsp. minced fresh cilantro), 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. chili powder, 1/4 tsp. cardamom, 1 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper.

Pour 2 Tbs. olive oil into a large skillet.  Add sliced onions and cook over medium heat until onions begin to brown a bit – between 5 to 6 minutes.

Add minced garlic.  Cook two to three minutes more, stirring occasionally.

Add the spices you’d set aside.  Stir to combine with the onions and garlic.  Cook one more minute, stirring.

Spread contents of skillet over chicken.

Moroccan Chicken Tangine - -  myyellowfarmhouse.com

Make one layer of the peeled and cut-up sweet potatoes.  Sprinkle 1/4 chopped dates over potatoes.  Pour 1 cup HOT broth over all.

Moroccan Chicken  Tangine - -www.myyellowfarmhouse.com

Cover on tagine.  Lower oven rack to second lowest level.  Place covered tagine in COLD oven.  Set temperature to 325F.

Cook for two hours.  ++  Chicken and sweet potatoes will be cooked after 1 1/2 hours but the extra 1/2 hour of cooking time REALLY makes the chicken thighs tender.  Enjoy !!

Moroccan Chicken and Rice Pilaf 2- - myyellowfarmhouse.com

‘Never-Fail, Always Delicious’ Armenian Rice Pilaf

Update – – Yes – rice IS gluten free !!    As are pine nuts (pinola nuts) !!

I found this delicious recipe for Armenian Rice Pilaf many, many years ago in the Providence Journal when we lived in Rhode Island – and it’s been a BIG favorite with my family and guests ever since.

As the title suggests, this Rice Pilaf comes out perfectly every single time.  I think there’s two secrets as to why – hot broth is added to browned-in-butter rice, pine nuts and a bit of angel hair pasta .  The other ‘secret’ is, after the rice pilaf is fully cooked, the pan is taken off the heat, and paper towel is placed over the uncovered pan for 10 minutes, resulting in fluffy, buttery rice pilaf ‘to die for’ !!

Moroccan Chicken - - myyellowfarmhous.com

Follow this to Moroccan Chicken Tangine.     https://myyellowfarmhouse.com/2015/02/03/moroccan-chicken-tangine-with-sweet-potatoes/

INGREDIENTS & METHOD       Serves 4 – 6     Can be prepared ahead.

  • 1/2 stick butter  (4 Tbs.)
  • 1/2 cup crushed angel hair pasta     ++  Regular spaghetti is fine
  • 1/3 cup pine (pignoli) nuts
  • 1 cup rice
  • 2 1/2 cups boiling chicken broth –  OR  –  2 1/2 cups boiling water and 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • Recipe does not call for salt – there’s already salt in the chicken broth.  If you wish, you may add some salt and pepper. 

Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Add 1/2 cup crushed angel hair pasta and 1/3 cup pine (pignoli) nuts.  Slowly stir until golden.    ++  The butter may foam up – that’s totally fine!

++ Watch carefully, you don’t want to burn the pasta and pine nuts!

Armenian Rice Pilaf with Toasted Pine Nuts - www.myyellowfarmhouse.com

Armenian Rice Pilaf with Toasted Pne Nuts - - www.myyellowfarmhouse.com

+

Add 1 cup rice – stir until thoroughly coated with butter.

Add 2 1/2 cups boiling chicken broth  – OR  – 2 1/2 boiling water and 1 bouillon cube.  Stir quickly with a fork – cover pan and lower heat.

Armenian Rice Pilaf - - www.myyellowfarmhouse.com

Simmer for approximately 20 minutes, or until all broth is absorbed and rice is fully cooked.  ++  If, by chance, rice is still a bit hard after 20 minutes  –  add a bit more hot water to pan and continue cooking a few more minutes.

Once rice is fully cooked, remove pan from heat.  Gently fluff rice with a fork.  Cover with paper towel for 10 minutes, which absorbs any extra moisture so the rice pilaf is extra fluffy.  ++  Be sure paper towel isn’t near a heat source!

After 10 minutes, fluff rice again with fork and serve.  Enjoy !!

++  Recipe can easily be doubled.
++ I often prepare a double batch of Armenian Rice Pilaf early the day of a party and store it (covered) in the fridge.  When I’m ready to serve, I add just a tiny bit of warm water and rewarm the rice, covered with waxed paper or plastic wrap, in the microwave.

Moroccan Chicken and Rice Pilaf - - myyellowfarmhouse.com

Oven Baked Salmon with Crispy Topping ++ Can Be Prepared Gluten Free !

As you may know, I’m seriously ‘on a mission’ lately to eat more healthy and I’ve discovered eating healthy does NOT mean dining on meals that taste like cardboard!!

Just because I’m trying to eat better doesn’t mean I can’t indulge in the occasional treat, as I did yesterday when I lost my car key (it just dropped off the key chain….).  After searching the parking lot etc. I finally found it at my doctor’s office…. but that was AFTER I called AAA to open my car in the hopes the key had dropped off inside.  I ended up rewarding myself, after all that frustration, with a (not too big…) piece of carrot cake – and I enjoyed every single bite !!

– – – – 

++  If you prefer to prepare this “gluten-free” – just use gluten free corn flakes, such as Nature’s Path Organic. 

++  Corn itself is gluten free but many products containing corn, such as corn flakes, may have flour (wheat) in the ingredients.

++  Recipe makes enough for 4 people, depending upon the size of your piece of salmon.    ++  I prepared 1 piece of salmon and stored the extra topping in the fridge.

INGREDIENTS                Oven at 375 F           ++ Bake salmon for approximately 20 minutes

  • a bit of olive oil, to grease skillet….. about 2 tsp.
  • 4 pieces of salmon about 5″ long and 1/2″ in center    ++  Can be either with – or without – skin.
  • TOPPING
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • some freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups corn flakes
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup pine nuts      ++ I used 1/4 cup – – pine nuts are expensive!!
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • a bit of fresh parsley         ++  optional

Preheat oven 375F

Put all the ingredients into a food processor.  Pulse into ground.

++  If you don’t have a food processor, put all topping ingredients in a ziplock bag and crush.

Oven Baked Crispy Salmon  with Crispy Topping  -  myyellowfarmhouse.com

Oven Baked Salmon with Crispy Topping  -  myyellowfarmhouse.com

+

Sprinkle between 1/4 to 1/3 cup of crumb mixture on each piece of salmon, pressing the crumbs into the fish a bit.     ++  Leftovers of crumb mixture can be stored in fridge !

Oven Baked Salmon with Srispy Topping - myyellowfarmhouse.com

Place salmon pieces on a broiler broiler  OR  on a rack, as shown above.

Bake in 375 F oven for 20 minutes, depending upon thickness of salmon.    ++  Salmon should be firm in the middle and look opaque. 

It does NOT get much easier than this. And – believe me, this Oven Baked Salmon with Crispy Topping is delicious.   Enjoy!!

Oven Baked Salmon with Crispy Topping - myyellowfarmhouse.com

Roasted Cauliflower and Red Pepper Gratin with Toasted Pine Nuts

++ This can be prepared GLUTEN FREE  !!

++  UPDATE – – EVEN BETTER WHEN MADE A DAY AHEAD !!      I just discovered that the next day the flavor of the roasted red peppers and cheddar cheese is infused throughout and the cauliflower is lovely & creamy !!  It tastes a lot like a very special version of Mac & Cheese.

It amazes me, now that I’m actually paying attention, how many fabulous recipes can be found which are healthy AND delicious.  Not only am I losing weight in my effort to eat healthy, I also have a lot more energy.  LOOK OUT WORLD !!

If you think you don’t like cauliflower, this may be the recipe to change your mind !  This is NOT your mother’s (or grandmother’s) ‘boiled all to hell’ cauliflower.  A light cheese sauce graces the roasted cauliflower with loads of flavor and there’s a tiny bit of heat from the cayenne pepper. And, except for garlic salt with herbs, there’s no salt in this recipe.  (This was my dinner last night, that’s how much I enjoyed this dish.)

INGREDIENTS

  • 7 cups cauliflower, cut into pieces 2″       ++ Uses 1 head of cauliflower, with perhaps a bit leftover
  • 1 red pepper, cut into 1/4′ strips
  • 1 – 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. flour      ++  For ‘Gluten-Free use 1 Tbs. cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic salt with parsley      ++  Or garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. salt-free seasoning      ++  I like ‘Mrs. Dash – Garlic & Herb’
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 14 – 1/3 cup pine nuts       ++  a.k.a. pinola nuts        ++  You could also use walnuts or pecans
  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 1 1/4 cups 2% milk      ++  I used 1% & that worked fine!
  • 1 1/4 grated Cheddar cheese

SET OVEN AT 425 (F)       TOTAL COOKING TIME – 25 MINUTES    (10 MINS, THEN 15 MINS.)                                           

Mix together cauliflower pieces, red pepper strips and 1 – 2 Tbs. olive oil.

Roasted Cauliflower Gratin with Toasted Pine Nuts

Spread vegetables evenly on baking sheet with sides.  

Roasted Cauliflower Gratin with Toasted Pine Nuts

Roast veggies in a 425 (F) oven for 10 minutes.  While cauliflower is roasting, toast pine nuts and prepare cheese sauce.

                                       Roasted Cauliflower and Red Pepper – After 10 Minutes

cooked -Roasted Cauliflower Gratin with Toasted Pine Nuts

TOASTED PINE NUTS  

In a small (ungreased) frying pan over medium heat toast pine nuts, shaking pan occasionally, until nuts become lightly browned.

CHEESE SAUCE

In a small bowl mix together 1 Tbs. flour  (For ‘Gluten-Free use 1 Tbs. cornstarch), 1/4 tsp. garlic salt with parsley, 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper, 1/4 tsp. salt-free seasoning and 1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Once butter is melted, add the flour and spices.  Whisk together and cook, stirring with whisk, for about a minute. 

Slowly add 1 1/4 cup milk and continue whisking until mixture is well blended.  Continue to simmer sauce for 4 – 5 minutes if using flour, whisking occasionally.  ++  If using cornstarch, the simmering time will be less.   ++  If sauce becomes too thick when using cornstarch, add a bit more milk.

REMOVE SAUCEPAN FROM HEAT.  Add 1 1/4 cup shredded cheese and whisk until cheese sauce is smooth.  Add toasted pine nuts.

Remove baking sheet from oven after 10 minutes.  Using a spatula, gently turn the partially cooked cauliflower and red pepper strips.  Drizzle cheese sauce slowly over veggies.

Return baking sheet to oven and roast for another 15 minutes, or until tops of cauliflower are nicely browned.  Serve & Enjoy !!

Roasted Cauliflower Gratin with Toasted Pine NutsRoasted Cauliflower Gratin with Toasted Pine Nuts

Nutty Oatmeal and Wholewheat Bread

Oatmeal and Wholewheat Bread - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

For Bread Machine directions, follow this link – https://myyellowfarmhouse.com/2015/01/22/nutty-oatmeal-wholewheat-bread-bread-machine-version/

– – – –

This is the latest recipe in my Eating Healthy series.  And I’m happy to say that after only a week of ‘eating healthy’ I’m back in my jeans – and I can actually sit here and work on this post without having to unzip them.  If I’m hungry, I eat.  I just watch what I eat.  Believe me – I have a long, long way to go weight-wise.  But I’m motivated and enjoying the process.

It took me two tries to get this recipe the way I wanted it… and it was definitely worth the effort.  Nutty Oatmeal & Wholewheat Bread has a delicious, nutty taste.  And it’s good for you! There’s a cup of oatmeal and a cup of wholewheat flour, plus a cup of regular bread flour (because I don’t like heavy bread).  I added 1 tablespoon of chia seeds, which are so very good for you – or – you could add some bran in place of the chia seeds.  I  also added 1/3 cup of chopped walnuts, which, like chocolate, make everything taste better.    ++ This bread makes wonderful toast!

small red heart

INGREDIENTS                    Makes One Loaf

  • 1 cup very warm water
  • 2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 2 Tbs. honey            ++  Or brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbs. butter             ++  Or Olive oil
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1 cup wholewheat flour
  • 1 cup flour      ++  In the United States, bread flour is different than regular flour.  In Canada, regular flour has the same qualities as bread flour.  I use bread flour but this recipe works with either.
  • 2 pinches nutmeg
  • OPTIONAL    –    1 Tbs. Chia seeds    ++  Or wheat germ
  • OPTIONAL    –    1/3 cup chopped walnuts  ++  Walnuts will be added once dough has been kneaded a while.

METHOD

3 - Nutty Oatmeal and Wholewheat Bread - My Yellow Farmhouse.com (3)

Measure 1 cup very warm water.    ++  The water should feel warm on your wrist – not hot.  Too hot and you kill the yeast.  Too cold, and the yeast just sits there. 

Add 2 Tbs. honey and stir briefly.  Add 2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast.  Again stir briefly.  I’ve never seen directions to ‘stir’… it’s just what I do.)

Allow water, honey and yeast to sit for 15 minutes.

++  I usually give the mixture a little stir after about 7 minutes.

++  During cold weather you may want to place the measuring cup somewhere out of drafts.  I use my microwave!

After 15 minutes the water, honey and yeast should’ve bubbled up to resemble the photo above.  ++ If it does NOT – your water may have been too cold or too hot – or – your yeast may not be good anymore.  Just dump the contents out and try it again.  DO NOT GIVE UP!  The first bread I made was heavy as a brick!!

++  The quality of yeast goes down the longer you have it.  Use ‘6 months’ as your guide for when it’s time to discard it BUT your bread won’t fail if the yeast is older.  Your bread will just not rise quite as much and will have less flavor.  (I buy small jars of yeast but the same applies to packets.)

Pour the liquid into a medium-sized bowl.  Add 1 1/4 tsp. salt, 2 Tbs. butter, 1 cup quick-cooking oats, 1 cup wholewheat flour, 1 cup flour (see note above), 1 Tbs. Chia seeds and 2 pinches nutmeg.  ++  You’ll be adding the walnuts a bit later.

Using your hands (or a large spoon if you wish) mix the ingredients until combined, which should only take about a minute.

KNEADING THE DOUGH

Place dough on lightly floured work surface.  ++  I usually use a ‘tea towel’ (a.k.a. ‘dish towel) but this dough is a bit sticky, just I just used the counter.

Knead dough about 5 minutes.  ++  To knead dough, push away from you with the palm of your hand, turn dough, fold over and repeat. If dough is too sticky, add a bit more flour.

++ Now add 1/3 chopped walnuts and knead just until walnuts are incorporated.  Form dough into a ball.

++  Here’s an excellent link to learn how to knead bread –  http://bread.wonderhowto.com/how-to/knead-bread-dough-by-hand-355638/

Dough After Kneading

6 -  Nutty Oatmeal and Wholewheat Bread - My Yellow Farmhouse.com (5)

ALLOWING THE DOUGH TO ‘RISE’    

8 - Nutty Oatmeal and Wholewheat Bread - My Yellow Farmhouse.com (7)

After dough has been kneaded, place it in a greased bowl.  Turn dough over to grease top.  Cover bowl with a dish towel or plastic wrap.  Let rise in warm place for 30 to 40 minutes, or until double in size. 

++ During cold weather, place a 10′ x 13′ pan half-full of VERY HOT water on the bottom rack. of your oven.  Place the covered bowl containing the dough on the top rack.

7 - Nutty Oatmeal and Wholewheat Bread - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

ALLOWING THE DOUGH TO RISE A 2nd TIME

Once dough has risen, you’re going to ‘punch it down’, which seems pretty counter-intuitive…but allowing the dough rise a 2nd time will make the bread much lighter.  ++  If you like dense bread – then just skip this step!

Cover bowl with dishtowel and repeat step above for rising the dough.  Again – allow to rise for 30 – 40 minutes or until double in size.

 FORMING THE DOUGH  –  This is fun and easy!!

9 - Nutty Oatmeal and Wholewheat Bread - My Yellow Farmhouse.com (8)

10 - Nutty Oatmeal and Wholewheat Bread - My Yellow Farmhouse.com (9)

Remove dough from bowl.  Place on a lightly floured surface.  Using fingers, press dough into an 8′ x 12′ rectangle.  Beginning at short end, roll up tightly.  Place in a greased (I use olive oil) 9′ x 5′ loaf pan.

Bake in a 375 (F) oven for 35 – 40 minutes.  Allow the Nutty Oatmeal and Wholewheat Bread a few minutes to cool off due to the denseness of the bread…. that is….if you can wait.  (I didn’t!)     Enjoy!

2 - Nutty Oatmeal and Wholewheat Bread - My Yellow Farmhouse

Nutty Oatmeal & Wholewheat Bread – Bread Machine Version

2 - Nutty Oatmeal and Wholewheat Bread - My Yellow Farmhouse

Follow this link for Nutty Oatmeal and Wholewheat Bread made without a bread machine –   http://myyellowfrmhouse.com/2015/01/22/nutty-oatmeal-and-wholewheat-bread/

This is the latest recipe in my Eating Healthy series.  And I’m happy to say that after only a week of ‘eating healthy’ I’m back in my jeans – and I can actually sit here and work on this post without having to unzip them.  If I’m hungry, I eat.  I just watch what I eat.  Believe me – I have a long, long way to go weight-wise.  But I’m motivated and enjoying the process.

It took me two tries to get this recipe the way I wanted it… and it was definitely worth the effort.  Nutty Oatmeal & Wholewheat Bread has a delicious, nutty taste.  And it’s good for you! There’s a cup of oatmeal and a cup of wholewheat flour, plus a cup of regular bread flour (because I don’t like heavy bread).  I added 1 tablespoon of chia seeds, which are so very good for you – or – you could add some bran in place of the chia seeds.  I  also added 1/3 cup of chopped walnuts, which, like chocolate, make everything taste better.    ++ This bread makes wonderful toast!

small red heart

INGREDIENTS        ++  According to my bread machine directions, this is the order of the ingredients as they’re put into the bread machine.  Check the directions for your bread machine, just in case they differ.

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 Tbs. honey            ++  Or brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbs. butter             ++  Or Olive oil
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1 cup wholewheat flour
  • 1 cup bread flour      ++  In the United States, bread flour is different than regular flour.  In Canada, regular flour has the same qualities as bread flour.  Follow your manufacturer’s directions.
  • 1 Tbs. Chia seeds    ++  Or wheat germ
  • 2 pinches nutmeg
  • 2 1/4 tsp.active dry yeast  ++  I use Bread Machine yeast but regular yeast may be used
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts   ++  The walnuts should be added during your machine’s ‘add’ cycle, which is part way through the kneading process.  Your machine should give you a signal.  If not, add the walnuts after machine has had time to knead the dough for awhile.


use - Nutty Oatmeal and Wholewheat Bread - My Yellow Farmhouse.com (2)

Set bread machine on ‘grain’ cycle.   ++  Your machine’s grain cycle will allow for the bread to rise twice, which gives the bread a lighter texture.  Enjoy !!

++  This step is NOT necessary but if you want a darker, crisper crust, up-end your baked bread into a 9’x 9′ square pan.  Remove bread machine pan from bread.  Turn bread over so crust side faces up.  Place in a 400′ oven for 5 – 6 minutes. 

Oatmeal and Wholewheat Bread - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

Herbed Blackened Salmon Fillets

You know you’re in trouble when you can’t zip your jeans !!  And you know you’re in trouble when your doctor tells you that you’ve gained 13 pounds in three months !!  POSSIBLE REASONS FOR THIS WEIGHT GAIN.  1. Trip to ‘all-inclusive’ resort in Cancun in October.   2.  Holiday Eating… beginning with Thanksgiving and ending with a two-week trip to Florida during Christmas and the New Year.   3.  Copious amounts of cooking during said trip, which meant copious amounts of eating – not to mention copious amounts of white wine and just lazing around like a nice, warm happy slug in the sunshine.  Oh, I forgot to mention Margaritas in both Mexico and Florida… yes… copious amounts!

I refuse give in and buy new jeans, so I’ve decided to begin taking care of myself and eating right. My guideline for this new endeavor is the Mayo Clinic’s ‘Dash Diet Program’ which is NOT a diet.  Rather, it’s an excellent guide to eating well.  And by eating well you lose weight, have more energy and also lower your blood pressure and possibly your cholesterol.

Herbed Blackened Salmon Fillets is the first of several posts which will feature delicious, healthy recipes.  I do hope you come along on this new journey with me.  If you’re already eating healthy, you might find a few new ideas.  Or, if you’re like me and need to lose some weight to improve your life, you may discover recipes to inspire you.  ++ I’ll keep you all informed as to my ‘progress’ with the too-small jeans!

1 - Herbed Blackened Salmon - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

2 - organic salmon steak - courtesy of Graig Farm -

Salmon Fillet = uneven thickness                           Salmon Steaks = even throughout.

INGREDIENTS            ++ Enough salmon for 2 servings

  • 1 lb. salmon fillet   OR   1 lb. salmon steak
  •           Blackening Seasoning
  • 1/4  to  1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 3/4 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. Mrs. Dash ‘Garlic & Herbs’    ++  Contains no salt !
  • 1/2  tsp. Italian Seasoning

3 - Blackened Salmon - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

METHOD

Rinse salmon and pat dry with paper towels.  Place salmon on a plate.  In a small bowl, mix blackening seasoning  ingredients .

++ For salmon fillet with skin on one side, rub blackening seasoning on the flesh side of the fillet only.   (You won’t need all the seasoning.)       ++ Allow fish to rest for 10 minutes.

++  For skinless salmon fillet  OR  salmon steak, rub 1/2 the blackening seasoning on one side of fish.  Repeat on other side.                      ++ Allow fish to rest for 10 minutes.

Drizzle about 2 Tbs. olive oil in large, heavy skillet. Heat skillet over medium-high heat.  (Skillet is hot enough when a bit of water, sprinkled onto heated skillet, ‘dances’.)

Lower heat to medium.

4 - possible - Salmon (2)

++  For Salmon Fillet

  • Place salmon fillet, skin side down, in center of heated skillet.
  • Cook for about 3 minutes, depending upon thickness of fillet.   ++ Cooked skin should peel right off !!
  • Flip fish and continue cooking for another  3 minutes or so.

++  Cooking time will depend upon the thickness of the fillet.  My fillet was rather thin, so I cooked it for 3 minutes on the first side and only 2 minutes on the second side.

++ Cooked salmon will be lighter in color and should look opaque.  Use your best judgement.  It’s actually better to undercook fish slightly than to overcook it.

++  For Salmon Steak

  • Place salmon steak in center of heated skillet.
  • Due to the thicker nature of salmon steaks, they take just a bit longer to cook.
  • Turn the fish when the bottom half looks opaque.
  • Continue cooking another 5 – 8 minutes.

++  Cooking time will depend upon the thickness of the salmon steak.

++  Cooked salmon will be lighter in color and should look opaque.  Use your best judgement.  It’s actually better to undercook fish slightly than to overcook it !

Herbed Blackened Salmon - My Yellow Farmhouse.com.

Recipe adapted from ‘The DASH Diet for Beginners’.

Photo of organic salmon steak courtesy of ‘Graig Farm’.

‘Quick ‘n Easy’ White Chocolate Peppermint Bark with Pecans

      This is a great recipe for those times when you want to share a homemade treat but have very little time to prepare something!

Candy Canes - clipartbest.com

You may know I call myself “Organized/Disorganized”…  Example – I have a folder in a closet full of Christmas ideas/recipes and another folder for Thanksgiving, which is the ‘organized’ part of my personality.  But because my kitchen is my office, my workstation and basically where I spend much of my time, it’s usually a mess.  Which is the shows the ‘disorganized’ part of my personality.

I couldn’t sleep last night, so I reorganized my Christmas folder and found my recipe for White Chocolate Peppermint Bark with Pecans – which I had totally forgotten about.  Making candy doesn’t get much easier than this – just a few ingredients, a bit of time cooking in the microwave, a bit of stirring et voila –  CANDY!

++  For a delicious change-of-pace, use two (12 oz.) bags of semi-sweet choc.! Candy Canes - clipartbest.com

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cups white chocolate morsels – divided      ++  Two (12 0z.) bags of morsels
  • 2 Tbs. shortening – divided
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped salted pecans
  • 1/3 cup “smashed up” candy canes or peppermint candies

++  To break up candy canes, place several in a plastic zip lock bag and smack with a hammer, a can or a rolling pin.  (Of course, if you have a high-powered food processor you can chop them up in that… I think!)

++  Leftover candy canes can – like any type of hard peppermint candy – be saved for later use.  

'Quick 'n Easy' White Chocolate Peppermint Bark with Pecans1 - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

METHODCandy Canes - clipartbest.com

1.  Place 2 cups (1 bag) white chocolate morsels in a medium-size microwavable bowl.  Add 1 Tbs. shortening.

2.  Microwave – on high – for 2 minutes.     ++ This is only half of the white chocolate morsels – 2 cups (one bag) at a time are melted in 2 batches.  This ensures the chocolate doesn’t seize, meaning it won’t thicken or harden during melting

3.  Remove chocolate from microwave and mix well with a large spoon.

4.  Return to microwave for 30 – 40 seconds. Remove and stir well – ‘smooshing’ any chocolate morsels which may remain a bit unmelted. 

5. Spoon melted chocolate into another bowl & repeat the process of melting 2 cups of white chocolate morsels with 1 Tbs. Crisco.

6.  Stir in 1/3 cup “smashed up” candy canes or peppermint pieces and 1/3 cup finely chopped pecans.

'Quick 'n Easy' White Chocolate Peppermint Bark with Pecans 2 - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

7.  Drop by large tablespoons onto a cookie sheet which has been lined with waxed paper, parchment paper or plastic wrap.

'Quick 'n Easy' White Chocolate Peppermint Bark with Pecans 3 - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

8.  When candies are cooled and hardened, which won’t take long, they’re ready.  Enjoy !

‘Quick ‘n Easy’ White Chocolate Peppermint Bark with Pecans - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

Pull-Apart Breakfast Biscuits with Caramel Sauce, Pecans and Maraschino Cherries

Pull-Apart Breakfast Biscuits with Caramel Sauce, Pecans and Maraschino Cherries could be called Deconstructed Monkey Bread with Caramel Sauce, Pecans and Maraschino Cherries but that seemed pretty pretentious for this simple re-working of good old Monkey Bread.

Because I’m endlessly curious, I did a quick check on the meaning of a ‘deconstructed dish’.  “Deconstructed dishes may take foods that are normally combined in the dish, change their forms, and then plate them together in a different way. It’s not just about taking the dish apart, but putting its elements back together.”  So, I guess I did deconstruct what we usually think of as Monkey Bread… how about that?!

I had fun making this and I had even more fun sharing it with my neighbors.  I actually took the last two photos at their house – and even talked Lad into being my ‘hand model’!!

Monkey Bread - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

Ingredients & Method

Oven at 350F       Bake for about 35 minutes, or until biscuits in middle are fully cooked

Lightly grease a 10″ x 13″ pan with shortening or cooking spray

Two 9′ round or square cake pans can be used.  Just divide sugared biscuit quarters, pecans, cherries and sauce evenly between each pan.  Bake about 25 minutes, or until biscuits in middle are fully cooked.

– – – –

  • 2 cans (16.3 oz.) Pillsbury Grands Homestyle refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter or margarine  ++  I recommend butter !!
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans – – or walnuts   ++  I used pecans
  • 1/2 cup chopped maraschino cherries    ++  I chopped the cherries pretty small.  However, when I make this again, I’ll roughly chop the cherries.   ++  For Christmas you may want to use both red & green maraschino cherries!

Arrange 1/2 cup chopped pecans and 1/2 cup chopped maraschino cherries evenly on the bottom of a greased 10″ by 13″ pan.

Open both cans of biscuits.  Separate biscuits.  Cut each biscuit into quarters.  ++ I found it went faster if I stacked two biscuits together and then cut them into quarters.

Place 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 2 tsp. cinnamon in a gallon food storage bag.  Shake to mix.

Place biscuit quarters in the bag and shake to coat.  ++  I found it worked well if I shook about 1/4 of the biscuit pieces at a time.  Repeat until all pieces are coated with sugar/cinnamon mixture.

Arrange the biscuit quarters on top of the pecans and cherries, squeezing them together a bit to fit in one layer.  ++  As I went along, I added a bit more cinnamon to the bag because the first biscuit pieces seemed to have picked up all the cinnamon. 

Monkey Bread - My Yellow Farmhouse.com (4)

Now it’s time for the caramel sauce. Place 1 cup packed brown sugar and 3/4 cup butter or margarine in a small microwavable bowlHeat in microwave just until butter melts.  Using a fork or whisk, mix butter and brown sugar together well.  Pour over the biscuits.    ++  Don’t worry if the sauce isn’t poured evenly over the biscuits  – it’s going to end up at the bottom of the pan, where it’ll blend with the pecans and cherries to form a yummy, sticky topping for the biscuits.

Monkey Bread - My Yellow Farmhouse.com1

Bake 350F for 35 to 37 minutes – or until biscuits in middle are fully cooked.  ++  To check for doneness, lift up the top of a middle biscuit to see if it’s cooked.  If not, continue to bake a few minutes longer.

Monkey Bread - My Yellow Farmhouse.com (2)

Allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes, then turn upside down onto a large serving platter. ++ If you don’t have large enough platter, cover a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and serve from there.  Enjoy!

++ Quote  http://www.cheftalk.com/

Monkey Bread - My Yellow Farmhouse.com (6)

  Monkey Bread - My Yellow Farmhouse.com (7)

Saturday-After-Thanksgiving Turkey Noodle Soup

This recipe yields 16 cups – or around a gallon of soup.  Of course, you can easily halve the ingredients, which would yield around 8 cups of soup.

Few things are more glorious to gaze upon than a perfectly roasted turkey, it’s golden goodness and luscious aroma a precursor of delights to come.  Guests often gather around, oohing and ahhing, their expressions similar to those of grandparents staring at their first grandchild.  Yes indeed, Mr. Turkey is Center Stage – he’s the Big Event in the multi-ring circus called Thanksgiving.

My friend Tina is THE world’s best Turkey Cooker!!

THE TURKEY - 'My Yellow Farmhouse.com"

However, once the feasting has ended, Mr. Turkey’s Glory Days are seemingly over. He sits forlornly on the kitchen counter . .  abandoned, unloved, surrounded by the detritus of what was. Still, what remains of Mr. Turkey can be raised to a whole new level of delish-a-tude.

Today’s post, Turkey Noodle Soup, is certainly not a new concept for left-over turkey but I bet it’ll make your family’s tummies very happy.  Soup, in any form, is just so appreciated when the days are cold and dark, as they always are during this time of year.

 Turkey Strata (Casserole) - Uses Leftover Turkey and Stuffing! - My Yellow Farmhouse.com++ If you happen to have both turkey and stuffing left over you may want to prepare Turkey Strata.  It’s a snap to put together and is just another idea for what to do with all that turkey!!

https://myyellowfarmhouse.com/2012/12/27/turkey-strata-casserole-uses-left-over-turkey-and-stuffing/

– – – –

Mr. Turkey – Starring in “Saturday-After-Thanksgiving Turkey Noodle Soup”

Saturday-After-Thanksgiving Turkey Noodle Soup - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

Ingredients and Method

++  You may prefer to add a bit more salt and pepper . . . or even more poultry seasoning.  Or you might like to add (cooked) rice to the turkey broth.  Think of this recipe as a guideline and adapt it to suit your family’s taste.    ; o )
  • turkey (or chicken) carcass    ++ You’ll need 3 cups chopped turkey or chicken
  • 12 cups water
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes     ++  I use Knorr.  If using another brand, use 4 chicken cubes.
  • 1 1/4  to 1 1/2  cups chopped baby carrots
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
  • 1 1/4  to  1 1/2  cups frozen peas  ++  The peas are added towards the end… still frozen.
  • 3 cups COOKED egg noodles     ++  Just measure out 3 cups dry egg noodles to equal 3 cups cooked egg noodles.
  • 1/2 tsp. salt  – –   or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper – –  or to taste

Place 12 cups water, 2 Knorr chicken bouillon cubes (If using another brand, use 4 chicken bouillon cubes.), 1 1/4  to  1 1/2  cups chopped baby carrots, 1 cup chopped celery, 1 cup chopped onion, 1 large garlic clove, minced and 1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning in a very large saucepan or Dutch Oven. Add turkey carcass, breaking carcass apart to make it fit, if necessary.   ++  Remove skin and fat as much as possible.

Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer.  Cover and allow to simmer for about 1 1/2 hours, turning turkey carcass over once or twice.

About 10 minutes before end of cooking time for broth and veggies, cook 3 cups egg noodles according to package directions.  Drain and set noodles aside.

After 1 1/2 hours, turn off heat but leave saucepan containing broth and veggies on burner.  Remove turkey carcass.  Allow carcass to cool a bit, then remove and chop meat.  You’ll need 3 cups.

Add the chopped meat to broth and vegetables.  Add the drained egg noodles, 1 1/4  to  1 1/2 cups frozen peas (still frozen!), 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper or ‘to taste’. Bring soup to a simmer again and serve.  Enjoy!

– – – –

++ My son M. jokingly said I need to credit him for 1. use of his kitchen and  2. use of his place mats & bowls for the photos.  So I suppose I should also thank him for his critique of my soup, which he gave a thumbs up.  (And he’s one tough critic..)  I also want to thank Tina and Gary for hosting The Feast and for allowing me to abscond with the turkey carcass!!     Enjoy !

Green Beans with Browned Butter and Sesame Seeds – Browned Butter Can Be Prepared Ahead !

++  The prep work for this recipe can be done one night before – or earlier in the day.  ++

Green Beans with Browned Butter and Sesame Seeds is the last recipe in a series of 6 ‘make ahead’ recipes, all of which can be prepared – or prepped – a day or two ahead, which will help to make your busy life a bit easier!  By preparing a few dishes each night for two nights, all you’ll need to do the day of The Big Feast is roast the turkey, make the gravy and cook the green beans.

I’ve been preparing green beans this way for a few years but today it was a bit different as I had to list amounts and cooking times – I usually just ‘wing it’.  Guests often ask, “How did you make these beans?”  Well, now they know!

Everything was very casual the night of the ‘taste testing’.

Make Ahead Thanksgiving Dinner - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

My Yellow Farmhouse.com - Make-Ahead Turkey Dinner

  MENU

  • Mashed Potatoes with Sour Cream and Chives

https://myyellowfarmhouse.com/2014/11/13/make-ahead-turkey-dinner-recipe-no-1-mashed-potatoes-with-sour-cream-and-chives/

  • Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon, Nutmeg and a Dash of Bourbon

https://myyellowfarmhouse.com/2014/11/15/make-ahead-turkey-dinner-recipe-no-2-sweet-potatoes-with-cinnamon-nutmeg-and-a-splash-of-brandy/

  • Herb Stuffing with Baby Bella Mushrooms, Celery and Onions

https://myyellowfarmhouse.com/2014/11/15/make-ahead-turkey-dinner-recipe-no-3-herb-stuffing-with-baby-bella-mushrooms/

  • Green Beans with Browned Butter and Sesame Seeds
  • Turkey Breast (or Turkey) with White Wine, Oranges  & + Savory Turkey Gravy

https://myyellowfarmhouse.com/2014/11/17/make-ahead-turkey-dinner-recipes-no-4-5-roasted-turkey-breast-or-whole-turkey-with-white-wine-oranges-and-apples-savory-turkey-gravy/

  • Bonus Recipe – Homemade Whole-Berry Cranberry Sauce with Apple and a Hint of Cinnamon

https://myyellowfarmhouse.com/2014/11/20/homemade-whole-berry-cranberry-sauce-with-apple-and-a-hint-of-cinnamon/

– – –

++ The amount of beans shown here should serve between 5 – 6 people, depending upon how many other sides dishes you’re serving.  I figure approximately a handful of fresh beans for each guest… but I have small hands, so this ‘method’ might not work for you! 

++ If you’re having lots and lots of guests and need to cook more beans, just double or triple the browned butter.  But remember, the cooking time for the beans will be a bit longer.

Ingredients and Method 

  • fresh green beans, rinsed  –  ends snapped       ++ You don’t have to snap both ends… although I usually do.
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 1/8 tsp. Mrs. Dash ‘Garlic & Herb’ seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp, salt
  • 1 Tbs. sesame seeds

Rinse beans and snap off ends.  Snap beans in half if they’re are overly large.  (This step can be done either the night before or earlier in the day, just place the beans in a plastic zip lock bag and refrigerate.)

Greeen Beans with Browned Butter and Sesame Seeds - My Yellow Farmhouse.comGreen Beans with Browned Butter and Sesame Seeds - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

Place beans and 1/2 cup water into a large skillet with a cover.  Bring water to a boil.  Cover and allow to cook at a light boil for between 10 -12 minutes.  ++  Beans will not be fully cooked at this point.

Green Beans with Browned Butter and Sesame Seeds - My Yellow Farmhouse.comWhile beans are cooking (or the night before/earlier in the day) prepare the Browned Butter, which only takes about 5 minutes!

Place 2 Tbs. butter, 1/8 tsp. Mrs. Dash ‘Garlic & Herb’ seasoning and 1/4 tsp, salt in a small pan over medium heat.  It’s not necessary to stir the butter but you do have to watch it carefully !  After several minutes the butter will have foamed up considerably. Remove pan from heat and add 1 Tbs. sesame seeds.  Set browned butter aside until beans are fully cooked.

++  If you prepared the browned butter the night before (or earlier in the day) remove it from the refrigerator and rewarm in the microwave before adding it to the cooked beans.

Remove cover from skillet.  Lower heat a bit.  Continue cooking for another 5 – 6 minutes, stirring every once in a while.   ++ Any remaining water will gradually evaporate, which helps the browned butter to stick to the beans.    ++  Be sure not to overcook the beans – you want them crisp-tender!!

Add your prepared browned butter to the beans, mix well and serve.    Easy and delicious!

Happy Holidays to All – Enjoy !

Prepare Ahead Green Beans with Browned Butter and Sesame SeedsMake Ahead Turkey Dinner - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

Homemade Whole-Berry Cranberry Sauce with Apple and a Hint of Cinnamon

I consider my Homemade Whole-Berry Cranberry Sauce with Apple and a Hint of Cinnamon a ‘bonus recipein my series of 6 ‘make ahead’ recipes, all of which can be prepared – or prepped – a day or two ahead, which will help to make your busy life a bit easier!  By preparing a few dishes each night for two nights, all you’ll need to do the day of The Big Feast is roast the turkey, make the gravy and cook the green beans.

Everything was very casual the night of the ‘taste testing’.

Make Ahead Thanksgiving Dinner - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

My Yellow Farmhouse.com - Make-Ahead Turkey Dinner

MENU

  • Mashed Potatoes with Sour Cream and Chives

https://myyellowfarmhouse.com/2014/11/13/make-ahead-turkey-dinner-recipe-no-1-mashed-potatoes-with-sour-cream-and-chives/

  •  Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon, Nutmeg and a Dash of Bourbon

https://myyellowfarmhouse.com/2014/11/15/make-ahead-turkey-dinner-recipe-no-2-sweet-potatoes-with-cinnamon-nutmeg-and-a-splash-of-brandy/

  • Herb Stuffing with Baby Bella Mushrooms, Celery and Onion

https://myyellowfarmhouse.com/2014/11/15/make-ahead-turkey-dinner-recipe-no-3-herb-stuffing-with-baby-bella-mushrooms/

++  Green Beans with Browned Butter and Sesame Seeds

https://myyellowfarmhouse.com/2014/11/22/green-beans-with-browned-butter-and-sesame-seeds-browned-butter-can-be-prepared-ahead/

  • Turkey Breast (or Turkey) with White Wine, Oranges  & + Savory Turkey Gravy

https://myyellowfarmhouse.com/2014/11/17/make-ahead-turkey-dinner-recipes-no-4-5-roasted-turkey-breast-or-whole-turkey-with-white-wine-oranges-and-apples-savory-turkey-gravy/

  • Bonus Recipe – Homemade Whole-Berry Cranberry Sauce with Apple and a Hint of Cinnamon

– – – –

I’m so pleased with how this cranberry sauce turned out.  Adding a bit of apple mellows out the naturally tart taste of the cranberries. And, the addition of just two small pinches of cinnamon and some brown sugar adds a subtle something extra.  (I’m heading down to Philadelphia for Thanksgiving & I’m taking this cranberry sauce to share.  I’ll be helping out where I can while I’m there. Still – it’s so nice to be a guest!!)

There are times… luckily not often… when I get a recipe idea that turns out really bad.  Such was the case recently.  I had the idea of substituting some orange juice for the water when making homemade cranberry sauce.  DON’T EVER TRY THAT !!   It was so sour – and I learned long ago that you just can’t fix sour… no matter how much sugar you add.  (Perhaps freshly squeezed orange juice would’ve worked…. what do you think?)

Ingredients and Method

Homemade Whole-Berry Cranberry Sauce with Apple and a Hint of Cinnamon - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar    ++ NOT packed down !!
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 bag (12 oz.) fresh cranberries
  • 1/3 cup chopped (peeled) apple   ++ See photo below to give you an idea of what size chunks.
  • 2 pinches cinnamon
  • ++ You can add a few tablespoons of chopped walnuts, filberts or pecans etc. AFTER the cranberry sauce had been made.

Open a 12 oz. bag of cranberries – discard any bad ones.  Set aside.

Peel and chop apple.  You’ll need 1/3 cup.  ++ No turkeys were abused during the making of this cranberry sauce.  I did all the work myself, even though Mr. Turkey looks so very proud !

Homemade Whole-Berry Cranberry Sauce with Apple and a Hint of Cinnamon - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

Bring 3/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar (not packed), and 1 cup water to a boil.  Add cranberries, 1/3 cup chopped apple and 2 pinches cinnamon.

Homemade Whole-Berry Cranberry Sauce with Apple and a Hint of Cinnamon - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

Lower heat a bit – continue to boil – stirring occasionally – for 10 minutes.

Homemade Whole-Cranberry Sauce with Apple and a Hint of Cinnamon - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

Pour the cranberry sauce into a bowl, cover – allow to cool completely at room temperature.  Refrigerate until serving time.  Talk about e.a.s.y. !!

Happy Holidays to All  – Enjoy !

Make Ahead Turkey Dinner - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

“Make Ahead Turkey Dinner” – Recipes No. 4 & 5 – Roasted Turkey Breast (or Whole Turkey) with White Wine, Oranges and Apples & Savory Turkey Gravy

‘Roasted Turkey Breast (or Turkey) with White Wine, Oranges and Apples & Savory Turkey Gravy’ are the 4th and 5th in a series of 6 ‘make ahead’ recipes, all of which can be prepared – or prepped – a day or two ahead, which will help to make your busy life a bit easier!  By preparing a few dishes each night for two nights, all you’ll need to do the day of The Big Feast is roast the turkey, make the gravy and cook the green beans.

I chose to roast the turkey breast ‘ahead of time’ (earlier in the day) simply because I needed to take photos… and that’s very hard to do when hungry guests are waiting to eat. I invited several people over to ‘taste test’ the food for me and, for once, my kitchen wasn’t a disaster area. And I actually had time to visit with my friends before the meal.

I was so pleased to see how much everyone enjoyed my new recipes. It seems that everyone had their favorites and many commented how moist the turkey was although I had roasted it several hours before! Serving this meal was so easy.

Two nights before I prepared the ‘Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon, Nutmeg and a Dash of Bourbon’ and the ‘Herb Stuffing with Baby Bella Mushrooms’.

One night before I prepared the ‘Mashed Potatoes with Sour Cream and Chives’ and prepped the green beans for my ‘Green Beans with Sesame Seeds’.

I have a small refrigerator in my cellar, so I was able to place all the ‘made-ahead’ dishes there.  You can always use a large cooler or two – just be sure to keep the temperature good and cold.

Make Ahead Turkey Dinner - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

Everything was very casual the night of the ‘taste testing’.

Make Ahead Thanksgiving Dinner - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

My Yellow Farmhouse.com - Make-Ahead Turkey Dinner

  MENU

  • Mashed Potatoes with Sour Cream and Chives

https://myyellowfarmhouse.com/2014/11/13/make-ahead-turkey-dinner-recipe-no-1-mashed-potatoes-with-sour-cream-and-chives/

  • Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon, Nutmeg and a Dash of Bourbon

https://myyellowfarmhouse.com/2014/11/15/make-ahead-turkey-dinner-recipe-no-2-sweet-potatoes-with-cinnamon-nutmeg-and-a-splash-of-brandy/

  • Herb Stuffing with Baby Bella Mushrooms, Celery and Onions

https://myyellowfarmhouse.com/2014/11/15/make-ahead-turkey-dinner-recipe-no-3-herb-stuffing-with-baby-bella-mushrooms/

  • Green Beans with Browned Butter and Sesame Seeds

https://myyellowfarmhouse.com/2014/11/22/green-beans-with-browned-butter-and-sesame-seeds-browned-butter-can-be-prepared-ahead/

  • Turkey Breast (or Turkey) with White Wine, Oranges  & + Savory Turkey Gravy
  • Bonus Recipe – Homemade Whole-Berry Cranberry Sauce with Apple and a Hint of Cinnamon

https://myyellowfarmhouse.com/2014/11/20/homemade-whole-berry-cranberry-sauce-with-apple-and-a-hint-of-cinnamon/

– – – –

The first time I ever roasted a turkey we lived in Villanova, PA and my boys were in high school.  Previously we’d eaten two Thanksgiving dinners each year; one with husband’s family and one at my parent’s home.  (Lucky me…. I got to wash dishes twice…)  That year we decided to stay home and we invited some of our friends to share Thanksgiving with us.  In fact, our dear friend from Pakistan was staying with us for the weekend. Just picture this… he, who didn’t cook or usually even eat turkey, and I standing in the kitchen in our pjs in the early morning… reading the turkey label for instructions.  It was then I learned that roasting a turkey is no harder than roasting a chicken… turkey just needs a bit more time in the oven!!

INGREDIENTS & METHOD

Roasted Turkey with White Wine, Apples and Oranges - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

  • turkey breast or whole turkey, thawed if  frozen  – –  liver etc. removed from inside
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/2 orange, peel and pith removed – quartered
  • 1/2 red onion, skin removed – quartered
  • 1 apple, quartered
  • 1 Tbs. paprika
  • 2 tsp. Garlic Salt with Herbs
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  •  1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/3 – 3/4 cup water

+ + Begin roasting turkey in a 400F oven.  After 20 minutes, lower heat to 350F ++

Rinse turkey breast (or turkey) with cool water. Pat dry with paper towels. Place on a rack in a low sided roasting pan.  ++ If you don’t have a rack, crunch up some aluminum foil into balls and place the turkey breast on those.

Place some of the apple in the rear cavity.  Place the rest of the apple, plus the orange and onion, into the breast cavity.  Carefully separate the breast skin from the meat using your fingers to form a ‘pocket’.

Allow turkey to air dry 5 – 10 minutes, which helps the oil cling to the skin better.

Rub turkey skin with 1 Tbs. olive oil.  In a small bowl mix 1 Tbs. paprika, 2 tsp. Garlic Salt with Herbs, 1 tsp. thyme, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper.  Rub inside of turkey breast with about 2 tsp. of the spice mixture, rub about 2 tsp. under the skin and use the rest to rub on the skin.  Try to cover the entire turkey breast (turkey) with spice rub.  ++ If you feel you need a bit more spice rub, just mix up a little paprika and thyme.  Don’t add any more salt or your gravy will be too salty.

Turkey Breast (or Turkey) with White Wine, Oranges and Apples - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

Pour 1/2 cup white wine and  1/3 – 3/4 cup water into the pan.  ++ All the delicious juices and flavors are going to go into the Savory Turkey Gravy – yummy!

++ Place roasting pan on the lower rack of your oven.

++ Start roasting turkey in a 400F oven.  After 20 minutes, lower heat to 350F.

Follow directions on turkey wrapper for roasting times.  Most store-bought turkey breasts or turkeys have those ‘pop-up thingies’ which tell you when the turkey is fully cooked, which is pretty darn helpful.  (I have noticed, though, for the most part, the turkey ends up being fully cooked before the estimated time.)

  • For turkey breast, meat thermometer should read 165F in the thickest part of the breast.
  • For whole turkey, meat thermometer should read 175F in the thickest part of the leg.
  • ++ TIP  Baste the turkey a few times towards the end of the cooking time. This gives the skin a nice sheen!

Once the turkey is fully cooked place it on a platter and cover VERY LOOSELY with foil. Allow turkey to ‘rest’ for about 30 minutes while you make your gravy etc.. ++ Allowing meat to ‘rest’ makes the meat juicer. Plus it’s often easier to carve – which means … no shredded turkey.

If you’ve prepared my make-ahead “Mashed Potatoes with Sour Cream and Chives”, “Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon, Nutmeg and a Dash of Bourbon” or “Herb Stuffing with Baby Bella Mushrooms” place those in the oven to reheat at 360F. Keep the mashed potatoes and the stuffing covered – but uncover the sweet potatoes.  Reheat for about 45 minutes – or until each dish is fully heated.     ++ If you chose, all three recipes mentioned above can be reheated in the microwave.

CONTINUE SCROLLING DOWN FOR DIRECTIONS FOR DE-BONING AND REFRIGERATING THE TURKEY BREAST, IF YOU CHOSE TO ROAST IT EARLIER IN THE DAY.

Savory Gravy…. it’s Easy-Peasey!

Just like Prego spaghetti sauce – all the spices you need are ‘in there’ from the turkey juices.

Turkey Gravy Flavored with Apples, Oranges & Red Onion - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

  • 4 cups chicken stock – divided into 3 cup & 1 cup portions
  • 5 Tbs. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. Gravy Master – or another type of ‘browning liquid’

Add 3 cups chicken stock to roasting pan. Scrape ‘bits’ from the bottom of the pan.  Pour into a large skillet and begin warming on medium-high heat.

In a small measuring cup, mix 1 cup chicken stock with 5 Tbs. flour, making sure there’s no lumps.  Pour stock/flour mixture slowly into the stock in the skillet, mixing with a whisk as you pour.  You’re less likely to have lumps if stock isn’t too hot yet.  Add 1/2 tsp. Gravy Master browning liquid, although it’s not really necessary.  It’s just that I like a nice rich colored gravy!

Bring to a boil.  Lower heat a bit and continue at a ‘high simmer’ until gravy thickens.  ++ If you’d like your gravy a bit thicker, mix about 1/4 cup water with 1 Tbs. of flour and whisk it into your gravy a little at a time.  ++ I poured my finished gravy through a sieve to remove the ‘bits’.  If you don’t have a sieve… no worries.

HOW TO DE-BONE AND PLATE TURKEY BREAST EARLIER IN THE DAY

Using a sharp knife, remove skin from both sides of turkey breast.  Set skin aside. Beginning on the outside of the breast, slice meat into uniformly thick slices.  Place meat into casserole and cover with turkey skin.  Pour any juices over the meat, cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate.

About 30 minutes before reheating, place covered casserole on counter to allow it to warm up a bit.

Reheat – COVERED – at 360F for about 40 minutes. ++ As I mentioned at the top of this post, the turkey breast was very moist and very tender, even though it had been prepared earlier in the day.

Turkey Gravey Flavored with Apples, Oranges and Red Onions - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

– – – – – – – – –

I wanted to share these two wonderful recipes. (You can add them to your ‘Make Ahead File’.)  You know, sometimes it’s as if food bloggers read each others minds. I’d been thinking recently, “Wouldn’t it be great to find a new type of green bean casserole and a new way to make cranberry sauce – and Carolyn and Mike came through!!

The first recipe is from J.J. Begonia. Carolyn calls her recipe ‘Stovetop Green Bean Casserole – Served 3 Ways’.  She told me, “You can definitely prepare the gravy (sauce) ahead of time, refrigerate it and reheat in a pan.  Then just add the beans and cook through ~ done in under 10 minutes!”

Green Bean Casserole - Made 3 Ways - J J Begonia - Nov 2014

Green Bean Casserole – Three Ways – – ‘J.J. Begonia’

http://jjbegonia.com/2014/11/14/stovetop-green-bean-casserole-recipe

– – – – – – –

An excellent recipe for cranberry sauce was recently posted by Mike of ‘Rufus’ Food and Spirit Guide’.  Greg says, “Here’s a flavorful cranberry sauce that calls for just a few ingredients. If you don’t have a tangerine, substitute the zest from half an orange.”

Gingered Cranberry Sauce - from Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide - post Nov 2014Gingered Cranberry Sauce – – ‘Rufus’ Food and Spirit Guide’

http://rufusguide.wordpress.com/2014/11/15/gingered-cranberry-sauce/

Happy Holidays to All  – Enjoy !

Make Ahead Turkey Dinner - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

Make-Ahead Turkey Dinner – Recipe No. 3 – “Herb Stuffing with Baby Bella Mushrooms, Celery and Onion”

+ Prepare ‘Herb Stuffing with Baby Bella Mushrooms, Celery and Onions’ two days ahead +

Herbed Stuffing with Baby Bella Mushrooms, Celery and Onion is the 3rd recipe a series of 6 ‘make ahead’ recipes, all of which can be prepared – or prepped – a day or two ahead, which will help to make your busy life a bit easier!  By preparing a few dishes each night for two nights, all you’ll need to do the day of The Big Feast is roast the turkey, make the gravy and cook the green beans.

My Yellow Farmhouse.com - Make-Ahead Turkey Dinner

Everything was very casual the night of the ‘taste testing’.

Make Ahead Thanksgiving Dinner - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

MENU

  • Mashed Potatoes with Sour Cream and Chives

https://myyellowfarmhouse.com/2014/11/13/make-ahead-turkey-dinner-recipe-no-1-mashed-potatoes-with-sour-cream-and-chives/

  • Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon, Nutmeg and a Dash of Bourbon

https://myyellowfarmhouse.com/2014/11/15/make-ahead-turkey-dinner-recipe-no-2-sweet-potatoes-with-cinnamon-nutmeg-and-a-splash-of-brandy/

  • Herb Stuffing with Baby Bella Mushrooms, Celery and Onions
  • Green Beans with Browned Butter and Sesame Seeds

https://myyellowfarmhouse.com/2014/11/22/green-beans-with-browned-butter-and-sesame-seeds-browned-butter-can-be-prepared-ahead/

  • Turkey Breast (or Turkey) with White Wine, Oranges & Savory Turkey Gravy

https://myyellowfarmhouse.com/2014/11/17/make-ahead-turkey-dinner-recipes-no-4-5-roasted-turkey-breast-or-whole-turkey-with-white-wine-oranges-and-apples-savory-turkey-gravy/

  • Bonus Recipe – Homemade Whole-Berry Cranberry Sauce with Apple and a Hint of Cinnamon

https://myyellowfarmhouse.com/2014/11/20/homemade-whole-berry-cranberry-sauce-with-apple-and-a-hint-of-cinnamon/

'Make Ahead Thanksgiving Dinner' - Herb Stuffing with Baby Bella Mushrooms - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

Ingredients and Method

  • 6 Tbs. butter
  • 1 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/3 cup chopped celery
  • 2 cups chopped Baby Bella mushrooms  ++ about 1/2 a small package
  • 1/4 tsp. poultry seasoning    ++ I use ‘Bells’
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 package Pepperidge Farm ‘Herb Stuffing’ Bread Cubes
  • OPTIONAL ADD-INS – – 1/4 cup chopped, peeled apple, 1/4 cup raisins, 2 tsp. chopped fresh parsley, 1/3 cup chopped walnuts …. you get the idea !

Place 6 Tbs. butter in a large skillet or pan. Add 1 cup chopped red onion and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes.

Add 1/3 cup chopped celery.  Cook, stirring, for an additional 5 minutes.

Add 2 cups chopped Baby Bella mushrooms AND 1/4 tsp. poultry seasoning. Continue cooking for 3 more minutes – just until mushrooms pieces wilt a bit.

++ Do NOT wash wash mushrooms. Simply wipe them with a damp paper towel. Mushrooms are like sponges, they tend to soak up water.  ++ Use the entire mushroom, including the stem. If the end of the stem looks dry, cut it off.

++ You don’t want to overcook the veggies. Except for the mushrooms, they should be a bit ‘crisp-tender’. They’ll continue cooking when the stuffing is reheated.

Add 2 cups chicken broth. Raise heat and bring to a boil.

Make Ahead Bread Stuffing - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

Once broth/veggies reach a boil, remove pan from the heat.  Add the bread cubes and mix together with veggie/broth mixture using a large fork.  Cover for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, uncover.  Allow stuffing to cool a bit, then put into an ovenproof casserole.  Cover with aluminum foil.

This casserole dish was given to me last Christmas – it was perfect for this stuffing!

Use - My Yellow Farmhouse casserole

I have a small refrigerator in my cellar, so I was able to place all the ‘made-ahead’ dishes there.  You can always use a large cooler or two – just be sure to keep the temperature good and cold.

Make Ahead Turkey Dinner - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

About 20 minutes before you’re ready to reheat the stuffing, take the casserole out of the refrigerator to take the chill off.

Bake at 360 for about 40 minutes, COVERED, during which time you can allow your turkey to ‘rest’ uncovered.  ++Allowing cooked meat to ‘rest’ makes the meat juicer. Plus it’s often easier to carve – which means … no shredded turkey!

Happy Holidays to All – Enjoy!

Make Ahead Turkey Dinner - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

Make-Ahead Turkey Dinner – Recipe No. 2 – Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon, Nutmeg and a Splash of Brandy

Prepare ‘Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon, Nutmeg and a Splash of Brandy’ TWO days ahead.

Brandy or bourbon can be used.  Your choice !!

Sweet Potatoes can be heated before serving in the oven   OR   in a slow cooker.

Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon, Nutmeg and a Splash of Bourbon is the 2nd in a series of 6 ‘make ahead’ recipes, all of which can be prepared – or prepped – a day or two ahead, which will help to make your busy life a bit easier!  By preparing a few dishes each night for two nights, all you’ll need to do the day of The Big Feast is roast the turkey, make the gravy and cook the green beans!

Everything was very casual the night I invited my friends to a ‘taste testing’.

Make Ahead Thanksgiving Dinner - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

My Yellow Farmhouse.com - Make-Ahead Turkey Dinner

  MENU

  • Mashed Potatoes with Sour Cream and Chives

https://myyellowfarmhouse.com/2014/11/13/make-ahead-turkey-dinner-recipe-no-1-mashed-potatoes-with-sour-cream-and-chives/

  •  Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon, Nutmeg and a Dash of Bourbon
  • Herb Stuffing with Baby Bella Mushrooms, Celery and Onion

https://myyellowfarmhouse.com/2014/11/15/make-ahead-turkey-dinner-recipe-no-3-herb-stuffing-with-baby-bella-mushrooms/

  • Green Beans with Browned Butter and Sesame Seeds

https://myyellowfarmhouse.com/2014/11/22/green-beans-with-browned-butter-and-sesame-seeds-browned-butter-can-be-prepared-ahead/

  • Turkey Breast (or Turkey) with White Wine, Oranges  & + Savory Turkey Gravy

https://myyellowfarmhouse.com/2014/11/17/make-ahead-turkey-dinner-recipes-no-4-5-roasted-turkey-breast-or-whole-turkey-with-white-wine-oranges-and-apples-savory-turkey-gravy/

  • Bonus Recipe – Homemade Whole-Berry Cranberry Sauce with Apple and a Hint of Cinnamon

https://myyellowfarmhouse.com/2014/11/20/homemade-whole-berry-cranberry-sauce-with-apple-and-a-hint-of-cinnamon/

– – – – – –

I based my Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon, Nutmeg and a Splash of Brandy on a family favorite featured every Thanksgiving in my daughter-in-law’s family.  My son M. is now ‘in charge’ of preparing the sweet potatoes every year and he does an excellent job. (‘Gum Gum’ – this post is dedicated to you with lots of love!)

The splash of brandy or bourbon isn’t truly necessary but it does lend a lovely balance to the sweetness of the dark Karo syrup and brown sugar.

Ingredients and Method

  • 3 lbs. sweet potatoes, scrubbed & rinsed
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups DARK Karo Syrup
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 Tbs. butter  ++  Feel free to add more butter
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt – or to taste
  • 1 – 2 Tbs. brandy or bourbon
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped pecans  ++ Sprinkle on top right before reheating 

Cut off small ends of sweet potatoes, cut potatoes in half and peel.

Place sweet potato halves into a large saucepan filled with enough cold water to cover potatoes. Add 1 tsp. salt and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Sweet potatoes will NOT be fully cooked.  They’ll finish cooking in the oven.

 

Drain and allow to cool, then cut into 1/3″ slices.

While potatoes are cooling, prepare sauce. In a medium saucepan place Karo Syrup, brown sugar,  butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and 1 – 2 Tbs. brandy or bourbon.  Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer, stirring often, for about 15 – 20 minutes.

Make Ahead Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon, Nutmeg and a Splash of Bourbon - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

Place sweet potatoes slices in a casserole.  Pour the sauce over the potatoes and mix to cover well with sauce.  Cover casserole with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate.

 

I have a small refrigerator in my cellar, so I was able to place all the ‘made-ahead’ dishes there.  You can always use a large cooler or two – just be sure to keep the temperature good and cold.

Make Ahead Turkey Dinner - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

About 40 minutes before you’re ready to reheat the potatoes, take the casserole out of the refrigerator to take the chill off.   With a large serving spoon, bring the potatoes on the bottom up to the top so they’ve all had ‘their time’ to sit in all that sugary/bourbony goodness.  Sprinkle with 1/3 cup roughly chopped pecans.

Bake at 360 for about 40 minutes, without a cover, during which time you can allow your turkey to ‘rest’.

++Allowing cooked meat to ‘rest’ makes the meat juicer. Plus it’s often easier to carve – which means … no shredded turkey!

Happy Holidays to All – Enjoy!

Make Ahead Turkey Dinner - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

Make-Ahead Turkey Dinner – Recipe No. 1 – “Mashed Potatoes with Sour Cream and Chives”

+ Prepare ‘Mashed Potatoes with Sour Cream and Chives’ one night before. +

Mashed Potatoes with Sour Cream and Chives is the 1st in a series of 6 ‘make ahead’ recipes, all of which can be prepared – or prepped – a day or two ahead, which will help to make your busy life a bit easier! By preparing a few dishes each night for two nights, all you’ll need to do the day of The Big Feast is cook the turkey, make the gravy and cook the green beans.

Recently I had several friends here at My Yellow Farmhouse to taste-test these recipes and got rave reviews on everything!! And, for once, my kitchen was not a disaster zone.

(Karl.. the first man to ever ask me for a recipe, I posted this recipe first just for you! And E.I, I’ll post the recipe for the gravy next since you loved it so much!)

My Yellow Farmhouse.com - Make-Ahead Turkey Dinner

Everything was very casual the night my friends came to sample my new recipes.

Make Ahead Thanksgiving Dinner - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

MENU

  • Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes and Chives
  • Green Beans with Browned Butter and Sesame Seeds

https://myyellowfarmhouse.com/2014/11/22/green-beans-with-browned-butter-and-sesame-seeds-browned-butter-can-be-prepared-ahead/

  • Herb Stuffing with Baby Bella Mushrooms, Celery and Onion

https://myyellowfarmhouse.com/2014/11/15/make-ahead-turkey-dinner-recipe-no-3-herb-stuffing-with-baby-bella-mushrooms/

  • Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon, Nutmeg and a Splash of Bourbon

https://myyellowfarmhouse.com/2014/11/15/make-ahead-turkey-dinner-recipe-no-2-sweet-potatoes-with-cinnamon-nutmeg-and-a-splash-of-brandy/

  • Turkey Breast (or Turkey) with White Wine, Oranges and Apples & Savory Turkey Gravy

https://myyellowfarmhouse.com/2014/11/17/make-ahead-turkey-dinner-recipes-no-4-5-roasted-turkey-breast-or-whole-turkey-with-white-wine-oranges-and-apples-savory-turkey-gravy/

  • Bonus Recipe – Homemade Whole-Berry Cranberry Sauce with Apple and a Hint of Cinnamon

https://myyellowfarmhouse.com/2014/11/20/homemade-whole-berry-cranberry-sauce-with-apple-and-a-hint-of-cinnamon/

'Make Ahead Turkey Dinner'' - Mashed Potatoes with Sour Cream and Chives - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

INGREDIENTS AND METHOD

  • 8 – 9 large gold potatoes   ++  About half 2 1/2 – 3 pounds  ++  Half a 5 lb. bag
  • 5 Tbs. butter
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 3 Tbs. minced fresh chives
  • 1 cup milk

Peel and cut into chunks 8 – 9 large gold potatoes. Place in a large saucepan and cover potatoes with cold water.  Bring water to a boil and simmer potato chunks until they break apart when pierced with a fork. (Thanks Ina Garten for that tip!)  The cooking time will depend upon how large your potato chunks are – it should take about 15 – 20 minutes after the water has come to a boil.

Turn off heat.  Drain potatoes and return to saucepan.  Place saucepan on the same (turned off) burner. Add 5 Tbs. butter, 1/2 cup sour cream, 3/4 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper and 3 Tbs. minced fresh chives. Mash well until potato chunks are broken down.

use - MAYBE - 3

Add 1 cup milk.  With mixer, beat potatoes for about a minute – just until everything is well combined.  ++ If you beat mashed potatoes too long, they can become gummy.

Pour into a heatproof or microwavable casserole, depending upon if you plan to reheat the Mashed Potatoes with Sour Cream and Chives in a microwave or oven.  Cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate.

I have a small refrigerator in my cellar, so I was able to place all the ‘made-ahead’ dishes there.  You can always use a large cooler or two – just be sure to keep the temperature good and cold.

Make Ahead Turkey Dinner - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

 

 

++ I was really pleased to see how these potatoes remained nice and creamy. The regular mashed potatoes I prepared just a few hours before the meal actually dried up a bit …but it was nothing a bit more milk couldn’t fix.

Luckily, I have a rack for my microwave, so I reheated both the Mashed Potatoes with Sour Cream and Chives and the regular mashed potatoes in the microwave.

If you chose to reheat these potatoes in the oven, set it at 360F.  Cover the casserole with aluminum foil and heat for about 40 minutes, during which time you can allow your turkey to ‘rest’ uncovered. ++Allowing cooked meat to ‘rest’ makes the meat juicer. Plus it’s often easier to carve – which means … no shredded turkey!

Make-Ahead Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

Happy Holidays to All – Enjoy!

Make Ahead Turkey Dinner - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

Farmhouse Bread – Possibly the EASIEST Bread You’ll Ever Make !

++ UPDATE  My fellow blogger friend John, who I mention below, recently made one loaf of ‘Farmhouse Bread’. He was very pleased with the results – in spite of the fact he forgot the dough rising in the oven… for 4 hours! I recently read bloggers should not begin a post by apologizing for having been out-of-touch.. that is.. unless you’ve been doing something noteworthy, such as vacationing. So, I’ll use that as my excuse because I did just return from a trip to Mexico.  I spent a week at Sandos Playacar Beach Resort in Playacar Del Carmen, Mexico, and it was all-inclusive and totally wonderful. I baked these loaves and took the photos before I left, planning to post the recipe while in Mexico….but I left the recipe at home…  Liz, who writes the excellent food blog ‘My Favorite Pastime‘, wrote to me (after I whined to her how I’d forgotten the recipe), “Have a great time. You can always post the recipe once you get home”. And John, ‘From the Bartolini Kitchens‘, told me, “You’ll find the recipe when you least expect it”.  It turns out they were both right & I thank them for their words of wisdom. So – without further ado – here’s the recipe for ‘Farmhouse Bread‘, which makes two beautiful loaves quicker than any bread recipe I’ve ever seen simply because you don’t have to wait for the bread to rise twice!

** If you have any questions or comments, keep scrolling down. I love to hear from you !!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 TABLESPOON (1 packet) active dry yeast    ++ NOT ‘quick rise’ yeast
  • 1 TABLESPOON sugar
  • 1 TABLESPOON salt
  • 2 cups warm water     ++ The water should not be over 110F.  ++ Heat up your measuring cup first by running hot water over it, then fill it with warm water  ++ Check the water temperature by pouring a bit on your wrist – it should feel slightly warm.
  • 5 1/2 to 6 cups All-Purpose Flour    ++ Some bread recipes in the States ask for ‘Bread Flour’.. but not this particular recipe.
  • Cornmeal, to spread on bottom of a cookie sheet – OR – use parchment paper, which I prefer.

Possibly the Easiest Bread You'll Ever Make! - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

In a large bowl mix together 1 Tbs. active dry yeast, 1 Tbs. sugar, 1 Tbs. salt and 2 cups warm water. Allow mixture to stand 4 – 5 minutes while the yeast ‘eats up the sugar’, the combination of which will make the bread rise!

++ Everything will foam up a bit, which means the yeast is working.  If you don’t see any ‘bubbling’, your yeast is too old.  (Been there…. done that…)

Gradually add the flour to the liquid and mix thoroughly until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Adding Flour to the Yeast, Sugar, Salt & Water Mixture

Possibly the Easiest Bread You'll Ever Make! - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

++ Making bread is not an exact science. One time you may need a bit more flour and another time you may need a bit less.  I ended up adding a bit more warm water because my dough was too dry and some of the flour wouldn’t incorporate into the dough. Don’t be afraid to ‘play around’ until the dough just feels right. You can always add a bit more flour when you’re kneading the dough.

Remove the dough and place on a lightly floured surface.

++ I like to use a floured dish towel.  (Tea towel for our British friends!) Knead dough 5 minutes. 

++ To knead dough, push away from you with the palm of your hand, turn dough, fold over and repeat. If dough is too sticky, add a bit more flour. If it’s still sticking to the floured surface.. yup.. add a bit more flour.

++ If you’re interested, here’s why kneading is necessary. (Adapted from ‘The Wise Geek’.) “One of the most important things taking place during the kneading process is the development of gluten, a type of protein. As the flour is moistened and stirred, gluten begins to form. This protein (gluten) acts as a binding agent within the dough, allowing the loaf to take on a cohesive texture so it doesn’t fall apart during baking.”

Let the dough rest while you wash & dry the bowl.  Using your hands, spread some oil (I use olive oil) around the inside of the bowl. Knead dough again for 2 to 3 minutes.  Place dough in the oiled bowl and turn dough over once to oil the top.

Kneaded Dough & Baking Pan with Hot Water

Possibly the Easiest Bread You'll Ever Make! - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

Cover bowl with a damp towel and keep warm until dough doubles in size – between 1 – 2 hours. SEE TIP BELOW !!

++ Here’s what I do to speed up the process.  Place a large baking pan containing HOT water on the bottom rack of your oven. Place the covered bowl containing the dough into the oven and close the door. Check between 45 minutes to an hour – your dough may have risen enough.  If the dough has doubled in bulk, then it’s ready for the next step. If not, just wait a bit longer.  (The original directions, from King Arthur Flour, say to let dough rise between 1 – 2 hours.)

Risen Dough – Ready to be ‘Punched Down’

Possibly the Easiest Bread You'll Ever Make! - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

Dough After Being ‘Punched Down’ (I think it looks a bit sad…)

Possibly the Easiest Bread You'll Ever Make! - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

Once you’ve punched down the dough with your fists, knead the dough briefly right in the bowl to get out any large air bubbles.  Return dough to lightly floured surface.  ( I thought this bread was so much fun to make.  The dough begins to rise again almost immediately after being punched down.)

Ready to be Formed into Loaves

Possibly the Easiest Bread You'll Ever Make! - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

Cut dough in half using either a knife or kitchen shears.  You don’t have to be overly fussy with it. Just try to end up with two pieces of dough pretty much the same size. Form each half into Italian or French styles loaves.  I went for a more rustic Italian look – if you’d like the same look, form dough into two 8″ – 9″ loaves. Place the loaves on a cookie sheet generously sprinkled with cornmeal OR use parchment paper, which I prefer.  Allow loaves to rest 5 minutes.

++ If the cookie sheet is lined with parchment paper, you can form the loaves right on the cookie sheet – which is what I do. Slash the tops 3 or 4 times diagonally. Brush loaves with cold water.  ++ I sprinkled my loaves with sesame seeds but it’s not necessary.

Shaped, Slashed and Ready to Rise ‘n Bake.

As you can see, the dough has already risen quite a bit since I formed it into loaves!

Possibly the Easiest Bread You'll Ever Make! - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

This is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen in bread making. You don’t have to wait for a 2nd rising. Your loaves are going to rise in the oven!  Place the cookie sheet containing the loaves into a COLD OVEN!!  Refill the baking pan you’d use before with BOILING WATER and return it to the bottom rack of the oven.

++ Caution – – don’t fill the baking pan too full with boiling water. The water’s going to slosh around a lot and you could get burned !

Place shaped loaves on the center rack of your oven – then set temperature to 400F.

++ As your loaves are rising, don’t be alarmed if they get so big the sides touch. That happened to me, so I just broke them apart after they cooled a bit.

Bake bread for 35 to 45 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the bread sounds hollow to the touch.

++ For a softer crust, which I like, spread butter on the still-warm loaves.  (The butter gives the loaves that lovely sheen.)

Remove loaves from baking sheet and allow to cool.. not for long… just until it’s cooled enough so you can hold on to the bread while you cut a nice, big piece and slather it with butter. Enjoy!

P.S. My neighbor said this is the best bread she’s ever eaten! Of course, she might’ve just said that so I keep coming over with ‘goodies’!!

Possibly the Easiest Bread You'll Ever Make! - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

** Adapted from King Arthur Flour’s – “Hearth Bread”.  King Arthur Flour’s ‘Flagship Campus’, as they call it, is located in Norwich, Vermont.  It’s a wonderful place to visit, so drop by if you’re ever in the area!

Pâté Prepared with Shallots and Brandy

I think pâté is one of those things people absolutely love – or they take one look and refuse to try it. Don’t be one of those people – you’ll be cheating yourself out of something truly delicious!!  (I loved this pâté so much I ate the whole bowl in two days!!)

Here is how pâté is described by Wikipedia – ” Pâté is a mixture of cooked ground meat and fat minced into a spreadable paste. Common additions include vegetables, herbs, spices, and either wine or brandy (often Cognac or Armagnac). Pâté can be served either hot or cold, but it is considered to develop its fullest flavor after a few days of chilling.”

I used butter and a good amount of brandy, plus shallots and thyme, in this recipe. And don’t let the fact the recipe includes chicken livers throw you off !  This pâté is quick to prepare and you’re going to feel so proud when you tell your guests you made it yourself.

Pâté is actually better when made the day before – and – you can serve pâté either at room temperature or cold, which makes it perfect for entertaining.  If you’re hosting several people, consider purchasing some good quality cheeses, grapes and apples to go along with the pâté. Add crunchy crackers or rusks and – voila – you have a very impressive platter to serve before dinner!

Ingredients and Method

  •  2 Tbs. butter    ++ You’ll need 3 1/2 Tbs. butter total
  • 1/2 lb. (8 oz) chicken livers
  • 1 small shallot, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. ground thyme
  • 3 Tbs. brandy
  • 1/2 cup heavy (or whipping) cream
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 14 tsp. pepper
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. butter
  • 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh parsley  ++ I like to buy fresh parsley, chop it up, put it into a baggie and then place it in the freezer. That way I always have it on hand!

METHOD

Melt 2 Tbs. butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken livers.

Pate Made with Shallots and Brandy - My Yellow Farmhouse

Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until lightly browned but still slightly pink inside.

Pate Made with Shallots and Brandy - My Yellow Farmhouse

Transfer to a blender (or food processor) and reserve the skillet.

Lower the heat a bit. Add the chopped shallot, cooking until shallot is softened.

Sprinkle on 1/4 tsp. ground thyme and stir to combine.

Pate Made with Shallots and Brandy - My Yellow Farmhouse

Remove skillet from heat. Carefully add 3 Tbs. brandy.  Return skillet to heat and cook, stirring, until brandy is almost evaporated. (After this photo was taken, I continued to cook the brandy/ shallot mixture for about 30 more seconds.)

Pate Made with Shallots and Brandy - My Yellow Farmhouse

Add brandy/shallot mixture, 1/2 cup heavy cream, 3/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper to blender.  Blend until super smooth.  (The original directions call for pressing the pate through a sieve at this point, which I did, but, if the pate is blended well enough, this step is NOT necessary.) Pour pâté into a small serving dish.

Place 1 1/2 Tbs. butter in a small microwavable bowl (cover the bowl). Warm just until butter is melted. Mix in 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh parsley. Pour melted butter over the pâté in bowl. (If you like, sprinkle a bit more parsley on top.)

Congratulations. You’ve just made a pâté that’ll ‘knock their socks off’.  Refrigerate until set, 1 – 2 hours. (That is… if you can wait that long.)   Enjoy !!

Pate Made with Shallots and Brandy - My Yellow Farmhouse

++ Original recipe courtesy of REALSIMPLE magazine – October 2014

Savory Cheese and Scallion Scones

My recipe for Maple Pecan Scones was one of several featured on the blog Fig Jam & Lime Cordial’s International Scone Week 2013, which made me happy as a little kid eating an ice cream cone!! Fig Jam and Lime Cordial is written by Celia, who happens to be from Australia. Drop by her blog because it’s jam-packed with excellent recipes!

Click here to see all the wonderful scone recipes from ‘International Scone Week 2013’.

For International Scone Week 2014 I’m submitting this recipe for Savory Cheese and Scallion Scones. (Savoury – for the rest of English speaking world.) I believe you’re going to like these scones!

Oven at 375F     Bake for 20 – 23 minutes

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbs. baking powder   (Yes – a tablespoon!)
  • 6 Tbs. cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup chopped scallions a.k.a. green onions   (Use both white and green parts.)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard (You can add up to 1 Tbs. if you like.)
  • several shakes of hot sauce

Savory Cheese and Scallion Scones - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

In a medium-sized bowl mix 2 cups flour, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1 Tbs. baking powder.  Work in the cut-up 6 Tbs. of butter with your fingers until there’s an evenly crumbly mixture and you don’t see any pieces of butter.

Savory Cheese and Scallion Scones - My Yellow Farmhouse.com (3)

Add 1 cup grated cheese and 1/3 cup chopped scallions.

Savory Cheese and Scallion Scones - My Yellow Farmhouse.com (4)

In a small bowl whisk 2 large eggs, 1/3 cup milk, 1 tsp. Dijon mustard (You can add up to 1 Tbs. of mustard if you like.) and several shakes of hot sauce. Add the liquid to the dry mixture. Stir with a large spoon ONLY UNTIL the dough is moistened. (The dough will be very sticky…)

++ UPDATE  My friend Liz, who blogs on “My Favorite Pastime” recently posted a recipe very much like mine, and Liz recommends “Knead the dough very briefly and lightly, folding it back over itself and pressing down (about 10 seconds). It should just lose its stickiness.” THANKS LIZ !! To see Liz’s recipe for Cheese and Chive Scones, click here!

Scrape dough onto a well-floured area of the counter top. OR (and I recommend this) use either a well-floured sheet of waxed paper or parchment. (I usually use a well-floured dishtowel BUT this dough was so sticky that ended up not being a good idea…)

Flour your hands – and flour them often. Also, feel free to sprinkle on a bit of flour while working with the dough. Pat dough into a 10″ by 3″ rectangle.

Cut into five squares. (I found cutting every 2″ worked out perfectly.) Then cut each square diagonally to form 10 triangles

Savory Cheese and Scallion Scones - My Yellow Farmhouse.com (5)

++ This dough can be a bit hard to work with. If you like, scoop out large dollops of dough to make 9 – 10 ‘free form’ scones. If you do choose to have triangular scones, don’t worry too much about them getting out of shape when you’re transferring the scones to the baking sheet. You can always ‘fix them up’ a bit with your hands.

Place scones on a greased baking sheet a least 1″ apart – OR – (I recommend this) place a sheet of parchment paper on the baking sheet.

Savory Cheese and Scallion Scones - My Yellow Farmhouse.com (6)

Bake scones for 20 – 23 minutes, until they’re nicely browned. (I’d ‘err’ on the side of ‘less brown’ rather than ‘more brown’ because you don’t want your scones to dry out.)

Remove scones from oven and sprinkle each with a bit of shredded. Return scones to oven for 10 seconds, which is just long enough to slightly melt the sprinkled cheese!

These Cheddar Cheese and Scallion Scones are best eaten right out of the oven and slathered with lots of butter. Any leftovers should be placed in a plastic food storage bag.    Enjoy!!

Savory Cheese and Scallion Scones - My Yellow Farmhouse.comOriginal Recipe from “King Arthur Flour’ – click here to see it.

‘Not Your Grandmother’s Potato Salad’ – Roasted New Potatoes with Creamy Parsley Dressing and Avocados

UPDATE – A Reddit follower said she swapped out the black olives for (drained) marinated artichoke hearts.  I LOVE that idea!!  

Our summer family tradition of ‘Swim & Feast’ continued last night and my contribution was Roasted New Potatoes with Creamy Parsley Dressing. This salad is fully-loaded with crunchy shredded carrots and celery, avocado, sliced black olives and hard-boiled eggs.  Most of us returned for second helpings – even the children!

The stars of this dish are the new potatoes which are roasted in the oven with red onion wedges and minced garlic. With the addition of chicken, salmon or ham etc. you’ve got yourself a great meal!

++ You don’t have to peel new potatoes – how’s that for easy?

++ This salad can be made the day before –  and it can also be served warm.

INGREDIENTS & METHOD 

Preheat oven to 425F      Total time for baking potatoes  35 – 40 minutes

  • 3 lbs. new potatoes  (I used White Delights which have a firm texture.)
  • 1 cup red onion, sliced thick
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, minced   (About 1 Tbs.)
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery (One stalk.)
  • 1 can (3.8 oz.) DRAINED sliced black olives
  • 6 hard boiled eggs, cut into large slices  (3 of the eggs are mixed into the salad – the other 3 are placed on top of the salad.)
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 Tbs. chicken stock  (I used “College Inn – Bold Stock)  ++ You can freeze the leftover stock or use it when making scrambled eggs instead of milk or in gravy etc. etc.
  • 1/2 tsp. salt – or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 3 Tbs. minced fresh parsley
  • One chopped avocado – placed on top of salad right before serving. (Why? Because avocados become brown when exposed to air.)

Rinse 3 lbs. new potatoes – no need to peel.  Cut into 1 1/2′  pieces.  Place chopped potatoes, 1 cup sliced red onion & 1 Tbs. minced garlic in a medium size bowl. Add 3 Tbs. olive oil – mix everything together. Place onto a greased 15″ x 10″ cookie sheet, spreading out potatoes etc. to form one layer.  Roast potatoes at 425 for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, stir potatoes and roast for 15 – 20 minutes more – or until you can pierce potatoes easily with a knife. (You don’t want to overcook them either or they won’t hold their shape in the salad.)

Place the cooked potatoes back into the medium sized bowl and add 1/2 cup shredded carrots, 1 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley, 1/2 cup chopped celery, 1 can (3.8 oz.) DRAINED sliced black olives and 3 sliced hard cooked eggs.

In a small bowl mix 3/4 cup mayonnaise, 3 Tbs. chicken stock1/2 tsp. salt – or to taste, 1/4 tsp. pepper and 3 Tbs. minced fresh parsley.  Pour sauce into bowl containing potatoes and mix well. Top salad with the remaining 3 (sliced) hard cooked eggs & sprinkle on a bit of minced fresh parsley.

** Just Before Serving – add 1 chopped avocado to top of salad.

You can serve salad warm. OR – you can let it sit in the fridge overnight, which gives the flavors time to blend. Enjoy!

NIGHT GARDEN – Photos and a Poem

I honestly believe I was a Native American in an earlier life because I don’t like coming inside once dusk has come and gone. It’s so quiet, peaceful and beautiful outside that I wish I could stay all night!  And there’s been more than one night (crazily,  considering the bears..) I’ve dragged a few cushions, pillows and blankets outside so I didn’t have to go inside – at all. And I’ve always slept like a baby – never waking up ’til the sun shone full in my face.

I hope to have a little bitty house built on my property just so I can sleep outside – and and it would look something like this. (Uncle Mikey – are you listening!?)

++ I had no idea writer Jane Yolen (who I had once the pleasure of meeting) wrote a poem called “The Night Garden” !!  See below for my poem “My Aunt’s Twilight Garden’.

A little house in Arkansas... so much like the one I dreamt about...!!!

Tonight, as I watched the clouds scuttling across the sky… I moved where I was sitting so the ‘Intruder Hummingbird” could have his late night snack….(The ‘Intruder’ is very wary because the Resident Hummingbird, who got used to me very fast, is always chasing away the ‘Intruder’, who’s still too nervous to feed when I’m close….. )

In any event, I decided I’d try to capture the beauty of my gardens after the sun goes down. I hope you enjoy both the photos and my poem.

Night Garden - My Yellow Farmhouse 2014

Night Garden - My Yellow Farmhouse 2014

Night Garden - My Yellow Farmhouse 2014