Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Oatmeal Sandwich Cookies

I found a scrap of a magazine page with this recipe on it--don't know where it came from. These cookies reminded of the Little Debbie Oatmeal Pies that are so good--but these are even better because they are homemade!

Oatmeal Sandwich Cookies
(ripped out of a cookie brochure that came in the mail)

1 1/2 c. shortening
2 2/3 c. packed brown sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/4 c. flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
4 c. old-fashioned oats

3/4 c. shortening
3 c. powdered sugar
1 jar (7 oz.) marshmallow creme
1-3 Tblspn. milk

1. In a mixing bowl, cream shortening and brown sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and nutmeg; add to creamed mixture. Stir in oats.

2. Drop by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart onto lightly greased baking sheets. (make sure you really keep them small because they really spread out) Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks to cool.

3. For filling, in a mixing bowl, cream the first three ingredients. Add enough milk to achieve spreading consistency. Spread filling on the bottom half of the cookies; top with remaining cookies.

Makes about 4 dozen.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Penne Rustica

One of Marc's favorite dishes is Macaroni Grill's "Penne Rustica"--so when I asked him what he wanted for dinner the other night, that is what he said. Well, thanks to the internet, I found a recipe that tastes exactly like the restaurant's version. I omitted a few things simply because I didn't have them on hand, but otherwise, just followed this recipe (OH, but I only used 4 c. of cream instead of 8 and it was still PLENTY of sauce for 16oz. of pasta)

Penne Rustica

Gratinata sauce
2 teaspoons
2 teaspoons chopped
1 teaspoon
Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon
1 teaspoon chopped
1 cup
marsala wine
1/4 teaspoon
cayenne pepper
8 cups
heavy cream

For Gratinata Sauce:
Saute butter, garlic, and rosemary until garlic begins to brown. Add Marsala wine and reduce by one-third. Add remaining ingredients, reduce by half of the original volume. Set aside.

Penne Rustica
1 ounce
pancetta or bacon
shrimp, peeled and deveined
12 ounces grilled chicken breasts, sliced
16-24 ounces
penne pasta, cooked
3 teaspoons
chopped pimiento
6 ounces
1 teaspoon chopped
1 pinch salt and pepper
1 cup
parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon
6 sprigs
fresh rosemary

For Penne Rustica:
Saute pancetta until it begins to brown.
Add butter, shallots, and shrimp.
Cook until shrimp are evenly pink but still translucent.
Add chicken, salt, pepper, and mix thoroughly.
Add gratinata sauce and 1/2 cup parmesan cheese.
Simmer until sauce thickens.
In a large bowl, combine shrimp& chicken mixture with the cooked pasta.
Pour into a large casserole dish or roaster.
Top with remaining cheese, pimientos and sprinkle with paprika.
Bake at 475 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes.
Remove and garnish with fresh rosemary sprig.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Chicken Marsala

Even though this doesn't measure up to The Cheesecake Factory's "Chicken Marsala" (honestly, what could ever come close to that? It is the BEST!)--this was still a great meal. I found the recipe on the back of the marsala wine bottle--thanks Holland House!

Chicken Marsala
(on the back of Holland House Marsala Cooking Wine)
Here is what I really did:

8-10 chicken tenders
flour, salt & pepper
2 Tblspn. butter
3/4 c. Holland House Marsala Cooking Wine
1/4 c. water
2 Tblspn. parsley
1/4 tsp. rosemary

Dredge chicken in a mixture of flour, salt & pepper.
Melt butter in large skillet and cook chicken, about 4 minutes on each side until cooked through.
Remove chicken to serving platter.
Stir in Marsala wine, water, parsley & rosemary.
Reduce by 1/3 and then add chicken back for a few minutes until heated thru.

I served this over angel hair pasta.
This recipe calls for 2 c. mushrooms (saute before the chicken, remove and then add them back into the sauce to heat thru before serving.)

Monday, March 2, 2009

Betsy's Rolls

I am a serious carb-addict. The problem is, I can't make bread to save my life! I have tried all the "fool-proof" recipes that friends swear I can't mess up--but I do. Somehow, every bread/roll recipe turns into a solid brick of tasteless carbs. So frustrating! I have the electric wheat grinder, Bosch mixer, KitchenAid, you-name-it, but they don't help me make a decent loaf of bread. Honestly, I think it's the bread recipes where they give you a range of the amount of flour to use and I just don't know what consistency I am going for. I need to see it, feel it and have someone walk me through step by step. Well...I think I finally hit the jackpot! I wasn't able to see or feel it, but Courtney's step-by-step instructions for her mom's rolls has been the winning recipe for me. I am so excited! I made a whole batch this morning and took them to a potluck lunch with friends--they we gone. That's a big deal considering there were only 4 friends and about 36 rolls!

Betsy Cannon's Rolls
(thanks Courtney--these have changed my life! :))
OH, check out Courtney's blog here--it's great!

2 packets yeast
1 Tblspn sugar
Warm water to dissolve yeast
1 cup milk
1/2 butter or margarine, melted (I use butter) - the original recipe calls for oil
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp salt
approx. 5-6 cups flour

Step 1:
Put yeast and sugar in a large plastic cup (I doubt the cup needs to be plastic this is just how she does it), cover with warm water and stir with a fork. Set aside.

Step 2:
Put milk in a glass container and microwave for 2 minutes or you can scald it on the stovetop in a small pan. After scalding the milk, put the stick of butter in the container of milk. This melts the butter while also bringing the temperature of the milk down so it won't cook the eggs. Set aside.

Step 3:
In a mixer, combine the sugar, eggs and salt.

Step 4:
Add the yeast mixture and the milk/butter mixture to the mixer and mix everything together.

Step 5:
Add the flour 2 cups at a time. Mix well after each addition. Once all the flour is added, mix for at least 4 or 5 minutes. When I asked my mom how much flour she used, her only directions were "it's more than the recipe says" (Louise says 4-5 cups, sifted). She makes these so often that she just knows when the dough is the right consistency. I'm not that good so I started at 4 cups and then added flour 1/4 cup at time until I decided that 5 3/4 cup is right for New Jersey. We don't sift either.
The dough should pull away from the side of the mixer. If you have too little flour, the rolls won't hold their shape. If you have too much flour, they are too dry. My mom instructed that if I added too much flour, I could add another egg.

Step 6:
Leave in mixer, cover and let raise for about an hour.

Step 7:
Run the mixer (I do this on the lowest setting) for a few revolutions. This is supposed to make the dough finer.

Step 8:
Roll out the dough on a floured surface. The first time I made these, I spread butter on the top of the dough. I was planning to make part of the dough into cinnamon rolls and got ahead of myself. I like the extra butter so I still do it that way. My mom does not (unless she is making cinnamon rolls).

Step 9:
Form rolls into desired shape. My mom usually does knots so I do too. Using a sharp knife, slice the dough into strips (approx 3/4 inch wide) and then cut the strip into 3 or 4 smaller sections. Tie each piece in a knot and tuck the ends under the roll. Place formed rolls on a greased pan.

Step 10:
Let rolls raise another hour or so.

Step 11:
Bake at 350 degrees until light brown - maybe 10 minutes or so.

This recipe usually makes enough for two nights of rolls for our family as well as a batch of cinnamon rolls. After I form the rolls into knots, I will put enough for that's night meal on one greased pan and let them raise for dinner. For the rest, I grease a pan and put the rolls on a cookie sheet. I cover the cookie sheet with foil and freeze (don't let them raise for the second time before freezing). Once the rolls are frozen, I take them off the cookie sheets and put them in ziploc bags (laid out flat) in the freezer. I then just take out as many rolls as I need. The rolls need about 2-3 hours to thaw and raise after being frozen.
My mom typically doubles the recipe in her Bosch. I have the basic-sized Kitchen Aid and it's a bit small to double so I don't. When doubling, you don't need to double the yeast (my mom says Pam Craig who is a wonderful homemaker told her that). The original recipe calls for two packets of yeast (or 1 1/2 Tbsp) - my mom says she uses 2 Tbsp of yeast when she doubles.