Breads and Muffins, Cake, Elaine Walker

Chocolatey Pumpkin Bread

2/3 cup vegetable oil
1-1/2 cups semisweet or dark chocolate chips
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup pumpkin puree
1-3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with the rack in the middle. Grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with vegetable oil.

Chop 1/3 of the chocolate chips into small bits; return them to the remaining chocolate.

With hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with a flat beater attachment, combine the granulated and brown sugars, eggs and vanilla. Mix on low speed until smooth, about 1 minute.

Add the pumpkin puree and 2/3 cup oil and mix on low until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ginger, allspice and cloves until combined.

Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix on medium-low speed until just incorporated and no bits of flour mixture remain. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Pour the batter into the loaf pan and smooth out the top. Sprinkle extra brown sugar and cinnamon on top, if desired.

Bake for about 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until the top of the bread is firm to the touch and springs back when lightly pressed with your finger, and a cake tester or wooden pick produces only chocolate when inserted into the bread.

Transfer the loaf pan to a wire rack and let cool completely. To unmold, run a knife around the perimeter of the loaf pan and invert the pan. Slice the bread and serve at room temperature.

Breakfast, Dawn Butler, Eggs and Pasta and Legumes

Green Chili Strata

6 slices firm bread
butter
2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack (or Havarti) cheese
8 ounces chopped green chiles
6 eggs
2 cups milk
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon crumbled oregano
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

Trim crusts from bread and spread one side of each with butter.
Arrange bread, butter side down in a 9×12-inch baking pan.
Sprinkle cheeses evenly over bread. Distribute chiles evenly over cheese layer.
In a bowl beat eggs with milk and all seasonings until well blended. Pour egg mixture over cheese.

Cover and chill overnight or at least 4 hours.

Bake, uncovered, at 325F for about 50 minutes or until top is lightly browned and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Dad, Mom, Seafood

Pan Fried Tilapia

1/2 pound Tilapia filets (boneless, skinless)
milk
Cracker Meal
Parmesan cheese, grated
salt, pepper
vegetable oil

Put milk in one large soup bowl or plate with sides.
Put Cracker Meal and Parmesan in another bowl or plate. Sprinkle with salt & pepper. Mix well.

Heat vegetable oil in large skillet on medium high heat.
Coat Tilapia (both sides) first in milk, then in Cracker Meal mixture.

When vegetable oil is hot, add Tilapia fillets. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes on one side, then flip and cook on 2 to 3 minutes on other side.

Serves two.

Dawn Butler, Vegetables

Broccoli and Cheddar Strudel

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
6 tablespoons salted butter, divided
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2-10 ounce packages frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
2 large eggs
16 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (4 cups)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
10 ounce sheet phyllo dough, thawed

Preheat oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a large skillet, heat olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add garlic and cook 5 minutes. Stir in broccoli and remove from heat. Transfer broccoli mixture to a large bowl and let cool for 10 minutes. Wipe out the skillet and set aside.

In a small bowl, lightly beat 1 egg and stir into broccoli mixture along with cheddar cheese and mustard. Set aside.

In the skillet, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter.

In a small bowl, lightly beat remaining egg and set aside.

Place 1 sheet phyllo dough on a work surface with the short side closest to you; cover remaining phyllo sheets with a damp kitchen towel. Brush phyllo sheet lightly with melted butter, beginning with the edges. Stack 4 more phyllo sheets on top, brushing all but the last sheet with butter. Place half of reserved broccoli mixture on short end of the phyllo, leaving a 3-inch border of dough along sides and bottom. Fold bottom edge over filling, then fold in the two sides and gently roll up into a log, brushing inside flap with egg to seal the strudel. Repeat with remaining ingredients to make another strudel.

Place strudels seam side down and 3 inches apart on prepared baking sheet. Brush tops and sides with remaining egg. Bake until golden-brown, 30 to 35 minutes.

Breads and Muffins, Breakfast, Elaine Walker

Apple Cider Doughnuts

3 cups apple cider
4 cups all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting your kneading surface
1 cup potato starch (no substitutions)
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 eggs
1/2 cup evaporated milk
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
vegetable oil for frying

Pour the apple cider into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Continue cooking on medium heat until its volume is reduced from three cups to one cup (about 10 to 15 minutes). Once reduced, pour the cider into a small mixing bowl or liquid measuring cup and place it in the refrigerator to cool.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, potato starch, sugar, baking powder, and spice, using a heavy spoon or spatula. Make a well in the center of the mixture.

Whisk the eggs, evaporated milk, salt, and reduced apple cider together until well combined, then pour into the well in the center of the dry ingredients. Use your spoon or spatula to gradually mix them together just until they are fully incorporated. (Do not overmix and do not use an electric mixer.)

Generously flour a clean counter or wooden board, as well as your hands. Pour the sticky doughnut batter out of the bowl and gently knead for about one minute until it forms a cohesive dough. Pat it out to a thickness of about 1/2″, then cover it with plastic wrap and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, during which time the dough will suck up the excess moisture and stop being sticky. What you’ll have is a nice, soft bouncy dough that you can easily cut through without issue. (If, for some reason, it still feels a bit sticky when you touch it, dust your hands with a bit of potato starch and give the top of the dough a light pat.)

Fill a Dutch oven or your largest pot with at least 4 inches of frying oil. Clip a fry/candy thermometer to the side of the pot, making sure that the bulb doesn’t touch the bottom. Turn the heat on thigh, bring up to a temperature of 360 degrees Fahrenheit, then lower heat to medium, adjusting as necessary to maintain temperature.

Use a doughnut cutter or round biscuit cutter to punch out doughnuts from the dough. If using a biscuit cutter, stick your finger through the center of the doughnut to make a hole, then twirl it around a bit to stretch it out. The doughnuts don’t need to look perfect.

Drop two or three doughnuts into the oil at a time. (If you put in too many at the same time, the oil temperature drops and causes the doughnuts to absorb too much oil.) They will sink to the bottom at first, and then, as the baking powder is activated, they will puff up and rise to the top. Fry for about two minutes, peeking at the undersides with a slotted spoon or chopstick, and flipping over when golden brown. Continue to fry for another minute or two, then remove from the oil and place on a wire rack over a baking sheet to drain and cool. Repeat with the remaining doughnuts. You can reroll the scraps to punch out more doughnuts, or you can hand shape them into tiny balls to make doughnut “holes.”

If you’d like to sugar your doughnuts, put some granulated or superfine sugar into a cake pan, and add your doughnuts while they are still hot and just shake them around. Use a spoon to make sure both sides are covered in sugar, then move to the rack to cool completely. If you’d like to dust with powdered sugar, wait until the doughnuts have cooled to room temperature, then dust right before serving.

Dawn Butler, Vegetables

Sweet Potatoes with Red Peppers and Peanut Sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
1-1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
2 teaspoons garlic, minced, divided
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch cubes (7 cups)
1/2 cup water
1 large sweet red bell pepper, cut into 1/4 inch pieces (2 cups)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup boiling water
1-1/2 teaspoons rice vinegar
1-1/2 teaspoons honey
crushed red pepper (optional)

Put a large saucepan on the stove and turn the burner to medium heat. Add the olive oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add the ginger and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Cook, stirring often, for about 3 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon of the garlic and saute for another 5 minutes.

Stir in the sweet potatoes plus the remaining 1 teaspoon of garlic and another 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Cover the pan and cook for 5 minutes, then add 1/2 cup water, cover again, and cook over low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the bell pepper and lime juice and stir. Cover again and continue cooking for 10 minutes more, or until the sweet potatoes are fork-tender. Check occasionally to see if anything is sticking, and if so add a little more water to the pan.

In a medium bowl, add the peanut butter and boiling water. Stir well. Add the vinegar, honey, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and continue to stir until the sauce is well blended.

Add the peanut butter sauce to the vegetables and stir to coat all evenly. If desired, add the crushed red pepper. Serve.

Beef or Lamb, Dad, Mom, Slow Cooker or Instant Pot

Instant Pot Kielbasa and Cabbage for Mom

6 ounces Polish beef kielbasa, sliced
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup beef broth (preferably College Inn Bone Broth or another bone broth with minimal seasoning)
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 head green cabbage, cored and chopped into 1 1/2-inch pieces

Turn on the Instant Pot and select Saute function. Cook and stir kielbasa, onion and olive oil until well browned, 5 to 10 minutes. Add butter to the pot and let it melt. Mix in beef broth, thyme, and Worcestershire sauce. Add cabbage and stir until well coated. Close and lock the lid.

Select high pressure according to manufacturer’s instructions; set timer for 5 minutes. (It will take 10 to 15 minutes for the pressure to build before the 5 minute cook time begins.)

(For Mom, let sit for another 2 to 3 minutes, then…) Release pressure carefully using the quick-release method according to manufacturer’s instructions. Unlock and remove lid. Serve using a slotted spoon.

Good with noodles or mashed potatoes.

Elaine Walker, Vegetables

Boiled Corn on the Cob

In a large kettle, add water and 1 to 2 teaspoons of sugar (not salt – salt will make the corn tough).
Bring the water to a boil.
Add the husked corn.
Boil for 5 minutes (not more).
Serve immediately.

Elaine Walker, Vegetables

Oven-Roasted Asparagus

1 small bunch of thin asparagus spears, trimmed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
1 small clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

In a large ziploc bag, add the olive oil, Parmesan cheese, garlic, salt, and pepper. Add the asparagus and close the bag. Turn the bag of asparagus upside down and back again to coat asparagus evenly with the olive oil mixture.

Arrange the asparagus onto a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake in the preheated oven until just tender, 12 to 15 minutes depending on thickness.

Eggs and Pasta and Legumes, Elaine Walker

Simple, Creamy Macaroni and Cheese for Mom

6 ounces elbow macaroni
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
1-1/2 cups milk
1 pinch ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
2 teaspoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Fill a large pot with lightly salted water and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Once the water is boiling, stir in the macaroni, and return to a boil. Cook the pasta uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is cooked through but still slightly firm, about 8 minutes. Drain well.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour; cook on medium heat until flour just begins to turn pale yellow, 3 to 4 minutes. Add thyme and whisk in milk until smooth. Bring the sauce just to a simmer.

Stir in nutmeg, Worcestershire sauce, and salt; simmer on medium-low heat until thickened, about 8 minutes, whisking often. Turn heat off, then add 1 cup of Cheddar cheese; stir until melted and combined. Add Dijon mustard.

Transfer the macaroni into a casserole dish, then pour in the cheese sauce; stir to thoroughly combine sauce with pasta.

Mix panko bread crumbs and 1 tablespoon melted butter in a small bowl, and sprinkle crumbs on top of macaroni and cheese. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup of Cheddar cheese on top.

Bake in the preheated oven until bread crumbs and Cheddar cheese topping are golden brown, about 20 minutes.

===================================
Below is the original recipe (double the amount as above, plus more ingredients) —

1 (16 ounce) package elbow macaroni
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
3 cups milk

1 pinch ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
1 tablespoon butter, melted

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
Fill a large pot with lightly salted water and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Once the water is boiling, stir in the macaroni, and return to a boil. Cook the pasta uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is cooked through but still slightly firm, about 8 minutes. Drain well.

Melt 1/4 cup butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. When the butter starts to foam and bubble, stir in the flour; cook on medium heat until flour just begins to turn pale yellow, 3 to 4 minutes. Add thyme, cayenne pepper, and white pepper; cook and stir another minute, then whisk in 1 cup of milk until smooth. Pour in remaining milk and whisk again. Bring the sauce just to a simmer.

Stir in nutmeg, Worcestershire sauce, and salt; simmer on medium-low heat until thickened, about 8 minutes, whisking often. Turn heat off, then add 2 1/4 cups of Cheddar cheese; stir until melted and combined. Add Dijon mustard.

Transfer the macaroni into a casserole dish, then pour in the cheese sauce; stir to thoroughly combine sauce with pasta. Mix Panko bread crumbs and 1 tablespoon melted butter in a small bowl, and sprinkle crumbs on top of macaroni and cheese. Sprinkle remaining 3/4 cup of Cheddar cheese on top.

Bake in the preheated oven until bread crumbs and Cheddar cheese topping are golden brown, about 20 minutes.