Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Turtle Shortbread Rounds

I'm not the only baker in the family. My mom was known for her baked goods and now my dad has taken over the baking in their house. His Peanut Butter Cup Topped Rice Krispie Treats and Pecan Sandie Rolo Cookies are two of my favorites. But those two may need to step aside and make room for my new favorite....

Turtle Shortbread Rounds
((Printable Recipe))


For the cookies:
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 1/4 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon salt

For the topping:
1/2 stick butter (1/4 cup)
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 bag Kraft caramels
1 cup milk chocolate chips
approximately 70 pecan halves


1. Beat the butter well. Add in the remaining ingredients until a dough is formed without lumps. Refrigerate the dough for approximately half an hour.

2. Scrape the dough out onto a work surface and separate into two sections. Roll each section into a log approximately 1 inch in diameter. Flatten the ends of the log and wrap each log in wax paper Refrigerate at least a half hour or until you are ready to bake.

3. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Slice logs into 3/16 of an inch thick and lay out on an ungreased cookie sheet pan. Bake until they are lightly golden brown, 8-10 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven and make a small well in the center of each cookie. (You can do this using the end of a wooden spoon.) Let the cookies rest on the cookie sheet pan for 5 minutes. Then, place them on a wax paper covered surface.

4. Meanwhile, in a small pot over a medium heat, melt the butter and mix in the milk, salt, and caramels, stirring until smooth. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Spoon the caramel into the well of the cookies, allowing the caramel to slightly mound.

5. Lightly press a pecan halve into the center of each cookie.

6. Melt the chocolate and pour into the corner of a freezer bag. Snip the end and drizzle the chocolate over the cookies.

Store the cookies in a cool dry place or in the refrigerator.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Easy Lavosh Crackers

There are many recipes out there for homemade Lavosh (also spelled Lavash), but it is often just as easy to find well made Lavosh bread in the bakery section of your grocery store (often sold near the fresh pita). These crackers are very similar to my homemade matzoh. Using pre made Lavosh bread cuts the time on these crackers greatly! These crackers turn out light and crispy and are perfect when you want a light snack.

Easy Lavosh Crackers 
((Printable Recipe))

1 package Lavosh bread
olive oil
sea salt

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Cut the Lavosh into about 2x2 inch pieces.

3. Arrange in a single layer on a large sheet pan and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt.

4. Bake 4 minutes until the crackers are lightly browned and crispy. Cool on a cooling rack and store in a cracker jar.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Spinach Pasta Bake with Gouda and Parmesan

Spinach Pasta Bake with Gouda and Parmesan 
((Printable Recipe))

1 lb. spaghetti
6 oz. bag baby spinach
1 1/2 cups whole milk
3 large eggs
1-2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons salt
8 ounces freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
8 ounces grated Gouda, divided

1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan and tightly wrap the bottom outside edge of the pan in foil to prevent any leaks. (If you do not have a springform pan, this can be made in a 9x13-inch pan.) Place the springform pan on a cookie sheet pan.

2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season with a generous pinch of salt. Cook the pasta just under al dente. Do not over cook the pasta. Err on the side of it being slightly underdone because the pasta will continue cooking in the oven. Right before the pasta is finished, add in the spinach and drain the pasta and spinach in a colander. Allow it to cool slightly.

3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together along with the salt and pepper. Stir in all but 1/2 cup of the Parmesan and 1/2 cup of the Gouda. You'll reserve this 1 cup for the top later. Toss the spaghetti/spinach into the egg/milk mixture.

4. Pour into your prepared springform pan and sprinkle with the remaining Gouda and Parmesan cheese. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbling and a knife inserted comes out clean. If the top browns too soon, cover loosely with nonstick foil.

5. Run a knife along the rim of the springform pan to release.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Easy Skillet Vegetarian Lasagna

Lasagna is a labor of love, but one that is well worth it. This one-skillet lasagna gives you all the flavor without the fuss. If you don't like zucchini or mushrooms, leave them out and substitute your favorite veggie. I've been adding chopped spinach to mine recently.

My daughter has now renamed this recipe: Super Sloppy Lasagna. It is nothing to rave about for looks, but scoop it out with a spoon from your skillet and you have the EASIEST lasagna you've ever made!

Easy Skillet Vegetarian Lasagna
1 ¼ cup ricotta cheese
¼ cup water
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1 ½ cups grated mozzarella cheese, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup diced mushrooms
1 small green pepper, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 small zucchini, diced
1 26 ounce jarred marinara sauce (about 3 cups)
6-8 oven ready lasagna noodles (I use Barilla)

1. Mix the ricotta, water, salt, parmesan cheese, and 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese together. Set this aside.

2. In a 12-inch skillet, heat the olive oil and sauté the mushrooms, onions, green peppers, and zucchini together until tender.

3. Add 2 cups pasta sauce and reduce the heat to medium-low.

4. Top with 3 noodles, breaking to fill the edges.  Spread the cheese mixture over the noodles.

5. Top with the remaining noodles over the cheese.  Pour the remaining sauce over and spread.

6. Sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella cheese.

7. Cover with a lid and simmer for 20 minutes, until the noodles are tender.  Cool 5 minutes before serving. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Meringue Topped Cookie Bars

This is a classic recipe that can often be found in old church cookbooks. The texture of the crispy/creamy meringue along with the classic cookie bar layer really can't be beat!

Wrap these bars up in a decorative tin and they make the perfect gift for this holiday Christmas season.

Meringue Topped Cookie Bars
((Printable Recipe))

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, divided
2 eggs, separated
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 (12 ounce) bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 9x13 pan with foil going both directions so that the foil overhangs the edges to make for easy removal. Spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder in a bowl and set aside until later.

3. In an electric mixer, cream together the soft butter, granulated sugar, and 1/2 cup of the brown sugar. Add in the egg yolks only (from the 2 separated eggs) and mix well. Add in the vanilla and water and mix.

4. Slowly beat in the dry flour ingredients until all is mixed in.

5. Press the cookie layer into the prepared pan and sprinkle with the chocolate chips- pressing them gently into the dough.

6. For the meringue: Use a clean mixing bowl and a clean beater or whisk attachment and start beating the egg whites on slow speed. Gradually increases the speed to medium-high. Mix until the egg whites look frothy and then begin adding the brown sugar, a little at a time. Raise the speed to high and whip until a soft peak have formed.

7. Spread the meringue over the chocolate chip layer and gently lay a piece of parchment over the egg white layer to prevent it from over-browning*.

8. Bake for 20 minutes and allow it to cool completely before removing them from from the pan and slicing.

*Remove the parchment during the last minute or to make sure the top of the meringue is nice and crispy.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Parmesan Crusted Mozzarella Grilled Cheese

Easy peasy and very cheese. This twist on grilled cheese comes together in minutes and is totally delicious. This recipe got a thumbs up from every member of my family!

Parmesan Crusted Mozzarella Grilled Cheese 
((Printable Recipe))

8 thick slices white bread
1 package Buffalo mozzarella cheese
8 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
warm marinara or pizza sauce for dipping
6 tablespoons room temperature salted butter
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1. In a small bowl, mix the softened butter and garlic powder together. Spread the outside of each slice of bread with the butter.

2. Slice the buffalo mozzarella cheese and divide it between the four sandwiches.

3. On a medium low flame, place a nonstick or cast iron skillet. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the parmesan cheese and place the sandwich on top of the cheese. Grill for about 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Remove the sandwich. Sprinkle another tablespoon of Parmesan on the skillet and flip the sandwich, buttered side down on top of the Parmesan. Cook for another 2-3 minutes until the cheese is melted and the sandwich is golden brown.

Serve with warm marinara or pizza sauce for dipping.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Roasted Potato, Lettuce, and Parmesan Salad

Hold the croutons! Potatoes roasted with olive oil and rosemary make the perfect topping for this delicious lettuce salad tossed with Parmesan cheese and a creamy lemon garlic dressing.

Roasted Potato, Lettuce, and Parmesan Salad
((Printable Recipe))

2 pounds red potatoes, cut in half and sliced 1/4-inch thick
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons dried rosemary, crumbled with your fingers
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons water
1 clove of garlic, minced
6 cups dark lettuce, such as romaine, green leaf, or baby spinach
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
freshly ground pepper, to taste

1. Heat your oven to 450 degrees F.  On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss together the potatoes, oil, rosemary, and salt.  Toss until the potatoes are evenly coated.  Roast for 40-50 minutes, turning two or three times during the cooking time, until the potatoes are golden and tender.  Cool on the baking sheet.

2. In a large salad bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, water, lemon juice, lemon zest, and the garlic.  Add the lettuce, potatoes, and Parmesan; toss until covered with the dressing.  Season with freshly ground black pepper to taste.

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Recipe adapted from Delish.com