Thursday, December 29, 2011

Best Whole Grain Bread EVER!!!

Last year I decided the time had come to grow up and get my food storage in order, so I used some of our emergency savings money and bought a bunch of food.  Wheat, rice, beans, oats, etc. etc.  I also got a nice (used) wheat grinder, because let's be honest... cooking with fresh whole wheat is 1000 times better than the alternative.

My sister in love shared a recipe with me that she said was the best she'd ever tasted.  I was a little doubtful, but decided to try it.  HOLY SMOKES.  It really was that good.

Now, it comes from a recipe book, so I worried about sharing it here.  But after trying this recipe I was sold on buying the book and I think you will be too.  Its called Suzie's Sweet Wheat and I think anyone who reads this should order it right now.  Every recipe I've tried in it is delicious.

Lori's Famous Whole Wheat, Whole Oat, Whole Flax Bread

3 cups whole white wheat

1 cup whole oats

2 ½ cups hot water

½ cup honey

1 ½ Tbsp dough enhancer

¼ cup wheat gluten

1 Tbsp + ½ tsp yeast

1/3 cup oil

1 ½ tsp salt

2/3 cup ground flax seed

Mix whole wheat and oats, process through grain mill on medium coarse setting.
In stand mixer bowl, whisk together hot water and honey. 

Mix in dough enhancer, followed by 3 cups of wheat/oat flour mixture. Continue whisking to add gluten and yeast, followed by oil and salt, and ending with flax seed and additional 3 ½ cups
flour mixture. 

Using the dough hook on mixer, knead for 6 minutes. Add a Tbsp
more of flour if needed to get dough to pull away from sides of bowl. 

Oil hands, knead by hand for about 20 strokes to remove air bubbles. Shape into loaves. Let
rise for 30 minutes(or until top of dough is above bread pan). Bake at 350 for 30

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Taco Soup

I feel like I've really perfected this recipe.  Not only do I love it, but my kids eat it right up and ask for seconds.  It has elements from several recipes from all over, but the combination is our favorite!

Taco Soup
1 pound ground beef (you could certainly use turkey here)
1 onion, chopped
3 cans of beans, I prefer 1 each of kidney, black, and pinto
1 can of whole kernel corn
1-2 cups salsa
1 can tomato soup
1 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
pepper to taste

Add-in options
Tortialla chips
Grated cheese of choice
Sour cream

The beauty of this recipe is its ease in preparation.  First, brown the meat and the onion together.  Make sure you salt and pepper the ground beef.  Drain, if necessary.  Then just dump the rest of the soup ingredients in and heat through.  Is it going to be better if it simmers for an hour, possibly, but if you can enjoy it just as soon as its hot.

We like to break up tortilla chips in our bowl, add the soup, and top with cheese.  Yum!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Whole Grain Pancakes

We love to have breakfast for dinner, but it takes some effort to make it healthy enough to not feel guilty about it...  these are tasty and pretty good for us too.

You can imagine with the size family I have, I have to make a lot of pancakes, so this is a big recipe.  To keep them warm while you cook, heat oven to 200 and place wire cooling rack on cookie sheet, put pancakes from griddle into oven.

I like to substitute Ground Flax Seed (GFS) for my eggs.  Generally you soften the GFS 1 Tbsp in 2 Tbsp water.

Whole Grain Pancakes
5 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
6 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs ~or~ 3 Tbsp GFS with 1/3 cup water (see above)
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
6 cups buttermilk, I usually use 5 1/2 cups milk mixed with 1/2 cup lemon juice

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in large bowl.  In separate bowl, whisk together the egg (or GFS), melted butter, and buttermilk.  Gently combine wet and dry ingredients, leaving a few lumps~be careful not to overmix batter.

Heat griddle to about 325, spray with non-stick cooking spray.  Pour  1/4 cup of batter per pancake. and cook until large bubbles begin to appear, about 2 minutes.  Flip pancakes and cook until golden brown on the second side, about 1 1/2 minutes longer.  Repeat using all batter, or save some to cook some up fresh for breakfast the next morning!

We like to add in blueberries, mashed bananas, and for a special birthday treat, chocolate chips!

BBQ Ribs

Ribs are kind of tricky to get just right, but we've always had the most success when we slow cook them first, then throw them on the grill for a few minutes before serving...

BBQ Ribs
1 rack of ribs
Season Salt
Garlic Powder
Black Pepper
BBQ Sauce of choice

Season ribs with salt, garlic and pepper.  I mean really slather it on there.  I rub it in too.  Place in crock pot for several hours (do it on low if you have 6-8 hours but 3-4 hours on high will do).

Carefully remove from crock pot and place on a big piece of foil on grill.  Coat in BBQ sauce.  Cook for around 15 minutes on each side, basting with sauce.  Let rest for 10 minutes before eating.


Most people make enchiladas with a canned sauce or with a white sauce (usually a Cream of something soup base).  My mom made up this sauce recipe and I don't think it can be beat.  I just love it!  She uses all cheese as a filling, but we like to do a chicken and cheese combo.

1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup flour
3 1/2 cups water
1 Tbsp chili powder
2 Tbsp taco seasoning
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 small can tomato sauce
2 cups sour cream
1 pound shredded colby jack cheese
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
4 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
10 flour tortillas

In a sauce pan, cook oil and flour until bubbly.  Add water and all other ingredients, cook until it comes to a boil.  It should thicken slightly.  Lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes if you have time.

Preheat oven to 375.  Combine shredded cheese, cream cheese, shredded chicken and 1 cup sauce for filling.  Cover bottom of 9x13 pan with sauce.  Put some sauce on a large plate, lay tortilla in sauce then place some filling mixture on tortilla.  Roll it up and place in 9x13.  Repeat until you use all filling and tortillas.  Pour sauce over enchiladas and top with cheese.

Cover pan with foil, bake for 20 minutes.

When I cook my chicken I usually just put it on my stove top in a large frying pan with a little water.  I salt and pepper it and break it into smaller pieces as it cooks.  It takes a while, but if you know in advance that you'll be using it over several meals, cook it all at once.  That's what I did and it made putting my enchiladas together easy peasy.

If you don't feel like rolling up a bunch of tortillas, you can easily make these into an Enchilada Lasagna. I cut my tortillas into strips and layers them with sauce and filling.  Usually, I don't mix all the filling ingredients if I do it this way.  I do a layer of sauce, tortillas, cream cheese/cheese, and then chicken.  Repeating until its all used up.  Its so good.

Debra's Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are a buttery, soft and chewy chocolate chip cookie.  One of my favorites!

Debra's Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 pound butter
3 eggs
2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 cup sugar
3 Tbsp vanilla
2 Tbsp baking soda
6-6 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 bags chocolate chips

Mix dry ingredients together.  Cream sugar and butter.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Add dry ingredients, stir in chocolate chips.  Form into balls, slightly flatten.  Bake at 375 for about 10 minutes.  You want to pull them out right when the edges turn golden.  They'll be slightly under baked.  Let rest on cookie sheet for at least 5 minutes, until they can be moved to a cooling rack without falling apart.

"Best" Cookie Recipe

My church put together a cook book, a collection of our favorites.  It is a real treasure because a lot of us were students at the time and don't live near each other any more.  Now every time I use one of these recipes I think of these dear friends and this sweet  time in our life.

This recipe was labeled as "Best Cookie Recipe" and I thought that was a bold statement, one that needed to be tested.  Well, let me tell you, they are exceptional.  This is my go-to recipe now.  And when taken to a bake-off (where I didn't win for brownies)... these cookies did win for chocolate chip cookies.

Best Cookie Recipe
2 cups butter
2 cups brown sugar
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
3 tsp vanilla
5-6 cups flour
3 cups oats
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
Mix-ins of your choice:  Chocolate chips, coconut, nuts, raisins, cranberries & white chips

Mix butter, sugars, eggs, vanilla in mixer.  Measure oats into blender, blend until fine like flour.  Mix dry ingredients in medium bowl.  Combine with wet ingredients.

Bake at 400 for 8-9 minutes.  This makes a bunch of cookies, but they freeze well, and they are so, so good!

Oreo Truffle Brownies

The inspiration and brownie recipe for this comes from Our Best Bites, which I love.  Brownies are pretty much my favorite easy treat.  I'm always on the hunt for the best recipe ever.  My hubby loves Oreos- as in when we played the Newlywed Game he named them as his favorite food- so when I thought of this combo I knew it was a match made in heaven much like my hubby and me.   If that's too sweet for you, this recipe might not be for you...

Brownies: (again from Our Best Bites)
4 squares unsweetened chocolate (4 oz.)
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder

Oreo Filling:
1 row of Oreos you know how they come in packages with 3 rows, 1 of those... I don't know how many that is...
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup vanilla frosting

Chocolate Glaze: (also from Our Best Bites)
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
6 Tbsp real butter

3-5 crushed Oreos

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

For the Brownies, chop chocolate squares roughly, then melt it along with 2 sticks of butter in the microwave.  Stir every 45 seconds or so.  Set this aside.

In stand mixer, beat eggs for about 3 minutes until thick and frothy.  Add sugar and vanilla, beat to combine.  Add melted chocolate/butter.  Combine flour and baking powder and whisk into brownie batter by hand just until combined.  Pour into lightly greased 9x13 pan.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, until sides just start to pull away from pan.  Cool completely.

For the Oreo filling, crush Oreos in food processor.  Mix with cream cheese and frosting.  You could probably use cream cheese frosting... Spread over cooled brownies.  Chill.

For the glaze, melt chocolate and butter much like for the brownies, spread over chilled filling.  Sprinkle with crushed Oreos and chill.

These are very rich.  Almost like fudge.  So, super yummy.

Katie's Brownies

You know when you have a recipe that you think is the very best?  Even so good that you bring it to a recipe cook-off totally expecting to win?  I have a recipe like that... but then the real winner showed up.  The perfect girl, with the perfect hair and and the perfect body... how is it fair that she can have the perfect brownie recipe too?!  Anyway, these are perfectly chewy, a little gooey, and so yummy!

Katie's Brownies
2/3 c. melted butter
2 eggs
¼ c. milk
1 1/3 c. flour
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
2 c. sugar
½ c. baking cocoa
¾ c. chopped walnuts (optional)
1 c. semisweet choc. chips (sprinkle on top before baking)

Mix all ingredients until well blended. Pour into greased 9x13 pan, then sprinkle chocolate chips on top. Bake for 25 minutes at 350°. The original recipe calls for 20 minutes of bake time, but they just were too doughy for me, so I let them bake a little longer, not sure what exact time.  I wait until the edges are coming away from the side a bit.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Strawberry Dream Cake

My husband's birthday is coming up and last year I made him this cake that he absolutely loved.  I got the recipe from and made a few tweeks.  I'm thinking of making it again this year with a few surprises up my sleeve.  I wanted to get the recipe up so its quick and easy to find.  I'll do an additional post with my additions.

Strawberry Dream Cake
1 white cake mix
1 1/2 cups strawberries, sugared & pureed
8 oz strawberry cream cheese spread
3 eggs
2 Tbsp oil
8 oz white chocolate
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp powdered sugar
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 pint sliced strawberries

Preheat oven to 350.  Prepare two 9" round cake pans.

Mix cake mix as instructed, replacing water with pureed strawberries (my cake mix uses 3 eggs and 2 Tbsp oil~if yours only calls for 2 eggs use 3 anyway).  Beat in the cream cheese as well.  Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden (the toothpick test won't work since its such a dense, moist cake).  Let cake cool completely before frosting.

To make frosting: Heat 1 cup whipping cream on stove top until frothy.  Pour over white chocolate and cream cheese, stirring until smooth.  Let chill.  Beat whipping cream in chilled bowl with sugar until stiff peaks form.  When white chocolate/cream mixture is cool gently fold into whipped cream and use to frost cake.  Garnish with sliced strawberries.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

French Dip

Oh how I love French Dip sandwiches!!! They are truly one of my favorite things to eat!  My kids really love to eat them up too.  Today I tried something new, here's the recipe.

French Dip
1 Beef Roast
1/4 cup butter
1 sweet onion
4-5 cloves garlic
1/2 cup beef bouillon granules
8 cups water
1 packet Italian salad dressing seasoning mix

Melt butter in large pot over high heat on stove.  Salt and pepper one side of roast, put that side down in the hot pan/butter.  Salt and pepper the other side and flip the roast over, getting all sides nice and brown.

Place roast in slow cooker.  Add remaining ingredients.  Cook over low heat for 6-8 hours.  Shred the beef and serve on buns.  Strain the onion out of the juice and use the rest of the juice as the dipping juice for the sandwich.


Sweet Potato Fries

These were SO, so good!  They weren't quite perfect, but I'll be making them again very soon so hopefully I'll be able to make adjustments until they are perfect.  Here is the recipe for now...

Sweet Potato Fries
2 Sweet Potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2" strips
olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
dried parsley

To get my potatoes ready I peeled them first and then cut off each end.  Then I cut the potatoes in half across the width.  From there, I placed my potatoes on one of the flat ends and cut them into 1/2" chunks, then turned the potato slices a quarter turn and sliced again.  I think I ended up with about thirty 1/2" x 2 1/2" fries.

After the fries were all cut I put them into a gallon size zipper bag.  I poured in a little olive oil.  Maybe 1-2 Tbsp maybe a little more?  I really don't know, just enough to make them shiny, but not saturated.  I added all the spices/herbs. Next I placed them, evenly spaced, on a cookie sheet and baked for 15 minutes in a 450 degree oven.  Then flip them over and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until they are crisp and golden.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Chicken Fingers

My kids love these chicken fingers, but be careful if you over cook them they will dry out.

Chicken Fingers
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
3 pounds chicken breast cut crosswise into 1 1/2" strips

Melt butter in cookie sheet while oven heat to 425.  Meanwhile, mix flour and spices in a medium bowl.  Dredge chicken in flour mixture.  Toss chicken pieces in butter in pan.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Turn strips and bake 10 to 15 minutes longer.

We like to serve with BBQ fry sauce.  To make it, just mix ketchup, BBQ sauce and mayo until its a nice light pink color or to your taste.


I was looking for a good meatball recipe and came across a good base on  I just made my additions and loved it.  They were so, super easy too!  Such a fun addition to our normal boring spaghetti... although these would be delicious with other meals a meatball sub!

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb ground beef
1/3 cup seasoned bread crumbs
2 Tbsp dry, minced onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt

Spread the olive oil in a 9 x 13 and place in oven while it preheats to 350.  Mix all the remaining ingredients (I personally love to just get my hands in there and mash it all together, but you can use a spoon, whatever).  Form the meat mixture into balls (mine were a little bigger than a normal cookie scoop, but smaller than an ice cream scoop), I got 12 that size.

Bake for 15 minutes.  Turn and bake for about 5 minutes more, until golden.

I put mine in Spaghetti Sauce while it simmered.  So yummy!

Spaghetti Sauce

This was a new recipe (actually at the last minute realized that I didn't have everything I needed to make it my normal way and had to make due with what I had) and my husband and I liked it so much I decided to record it.  It was really yummy.

Spaghetti Sauce
1~ 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1~ 8 oz can tomato sauce
olive oil
1~ large sweet onion, diced
3-5~ cloves garlic, minced (I used 4 but they were kind of small)
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
black pepper
12~ Meatballs

In a 4 quart sauce pan heat some olive oil over medium high heat.  Add diced onion, cook for a few minutes until it starts to get translucent.  Add the minced garlic.  Continue to cook until onions are soft and garlic is fragrant.  Add the rest of the ingredients.  I know I didn't include an amount on the pepper, basil and oregano, I just sprinkled it in until it covered most of the top of the sauce (maybe 3-4 shakes).  Cover.  Simmer over low heat for an hour or more.  I removed the cover the last 10-15 minutes of cooking to try to get it to thicken up a little.

Serve over spaghetti and enjoy.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

PIzza Dough

I know everyone has what they love, but this is what we do!

Pizza Dough
2 1/2 cups warm water
1 Tbsp yeast
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp salt
2 Tbsp olive oil
7 cups flour (I use a combo of whole wheat and all-purpose)

Let yeast soften in warm water for a few minutes.  Add sugar and salt, the yeast should bloom (sort of like little explosions of yeast erupting at the top of the water).  Next add the oil and flour.  I like to use about half and half whole wheat and all-purpose flour, sometimes I'll do more wheat for my family and sometimes I do more all-purpose if I'm serving it for others.

I mix it up in my kitchen aid with the dough hook.  I beat it for 3-4 minutes.  Divide it into 2 balls and let rest for a few minutes while I prep the rest of my pizza toppings.

Bake at 425 for 20 minutes.

Mom's Lasagna

Oh how I love a good lasagna!  I love to serve it when we have guests too.  They always love this one!  Its my mom's recipe, with some additions that my family likes.  The sauce could definitely be used for spaghetti too, its perfect with breadsticks!

Mom's Lasagna
1/2 pound Italian sausage
1/2 pound ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 large can crushed tomatoes
1 regular size can (14.5 oz, I think) diced tomatoes
2 small cans tomato sauce
1 small can tomato paste
2 Tbsp oregano
1 Tbsp basil
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup sugar

16 oz small curd cottage cheese
1 1/2-2 pounds mozzarella cheese
16 lasagna noodles

Brown the meats and onion.  I like to add salt and pepper to my meat while it cooks.  When its all browned, drain it.  Add the tomatoes, sauce and paste.  Stir in the oregano, basil, salt, pepper, garlic, and sugar.  Cook over low heat, the longer the better.  I'll be honest and tell you that I often don't let it simmer because I don't plan ahead.

While it simmers, cook your noodles according to package al dente.  When they are done, take the time to lay them out on wax or parchment paper.  It makes them cool nice and flat, making it so much easier to layer.  It also really helps them to not to stick to each other.  Nothing frustrates me more than tearing my noodles when I'm trying to build a lasagna.

In a deep 9 X 13 dish put down a bit of sauce.  Layer 4 noodles across the bottom (they will overlap a little), about 1/3 the package of cottage cheese, 1/4 the mozzarella cheese, then more sauce.  Repeat 2 times: noodles, cottage cheese, mozzarella, sauce.

Now you should have 4 noodles, some sauce, and some mozzarella cheese.  Put the noodles on top, some sauce over them and top it all off with the mozzarella cheese.

Bake it for about 30 minutes between 350 and 375.  (My mom's recipe says 375, but I did 350 this week and it was perfect!)  Let it sit for about 10 minutes before you cut into it.

This is probably even better the second day.  Something about cheese being twice baked that makes it sensational!  Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Whole Grain Waffles

We love to eat waffles at our house.  Topped with peanut butter and maple syrup reminds me of my childhood (though I didn't eat it that way as a kid, I thought my dad was crazy!). They are also super delicious topped with sliced strawberries and lemon syrup.  However you top them, these are a yummy healthier version of your traditional waffle.  The cornmeal adds a little crisp to them that I love.

Whole Grain Waffles
2 large eggs
2 Tbsp ground flax seed, soaked in 6 Tbsp water
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup applesauce
3 1/2 cups milk
2 Tbsp sugar
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
2 Tbsp + 2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Heat your waffle iron.  Beat eggs until fluffy.  Add butter, applesauce, milk.  You can mix the dry ingredients separately, but I never do... add flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Mix until no dry spots remain, but still a little lumpy.

Pour about 2/3 cup of batter on hot waffle iron.  Close lid and bake until done.  I do mine for a little less than 3 minutes, but I'm sure this depends on your iron.

Serve immediately.

You can stack them up and eat them as a group, but they lose their crispness.  You can heat your oven to 200 and place them on a cookie sheet to help keep them warm and crisp, but its not a perfect solution.  The best way to ensure you serve a light, crisp waffle is to serve immediately.