Cranberry Blueberry Muffins

Cranberry Blueberry Muffins

We like muffins at our house.  I like anything with fruit and nuts or chocolate.  My son likes muffins with tart fruit.  This is one of his favorites.  Filled with chopped cranberries, blueberries and just a hint of orange.

2 cups flour

1/3 cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 large egg

1/4 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup milk

1/4 cup orange juice

1/2 tsp. grated orange peel

1 cup coarsely chopped frozen cranberries

1 cup blueberries

1 tsp. cinnamon

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt and then toss the cranberries and blueberries in and stir to coat.  In a different bowl, whisk together the egg, oil, milk, orange juice and orange peel.  Gently mix together the wet and dry ingredients until well mixed.  Pour about 1/4 cup of batter into paper lined muffin cups.  Sprinkle with sanding sugar.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.  Remove muffins from oven and let sit for 5 minutes in pan, then remove to rack and cool.  Makes 12 muffins.

Cherry Chocolate Chip Muffins

Cherry Chocolate Chip Muffins

I got up this morning wanting muffins.  I like muffins, they are not too sweet and can be enjoyed anytime of the day.  They are easy to make and you can put almost anything in them.  I went to a bakery once and bought some chocolate chip pistachio muffins and really liked them.  I wanted to try to come up with a recipe so I could make them at home.  Tried several recipes online, but those were dry and they just weren’t what I was looking for.  Once I got the muffin right, I decided that I wanted just a little fruit to compliment the chocolate, it was a toss between raspberry and cherry.  Since I had some frozen cherries in my freezer at the time, cherry won.  This is the result.  Hope you like them as much as I do.

2 1/4 cup flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

4 tablespoon butter at room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

2 large eggs

2 tsp. vanilla

1/2 cup sour cream

1 cup cherries, roughly chopped (I use frozen, but thawed and drained well)

1 cup chocolate chips

1 cup pistachios or nut of your choice

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line a muffin tine with papers and lightly spray with cooking spray.  In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, soda and salt.  In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Scrape the bowl to make sure all the butter and sugar are mixed well.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one.  Add the vanilla and sour cream, mix until incorporated.  Add the dry ingredients and mix on low until the batter is smooth.  The batter will be thick.  Fold in the cherries, nuts and chocolate chips.  Scoop the batter into the muffin cups – about 1/4  cup each.  Sprinkle with sanding sugar or any coarse white sugar.  Bake the muffins for 18-20 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.  Remove from oven and cool in pan for about 5 minutes, then remove from pan and let cool on a rack.  Makes 12 muffins.

Turkey Cutlets with Cream Sauce

turkey cutlets with cream sauce

I love turkey.  Any way I can get it is okay with me.  This is a simple dish that is good served over rice or mashed potatoes.  It has a simple pan seared turkey cutlet and a cream sauce that really compliments the turkey.  You can add sliced mushrooms to the sauce, which I do when my son is not at home for dinner.  He hates mushrooms.  Not sure where I went wrong on that one.  I love mushrooms.  This is a quick weekday dinner that can be whipped up in 30 minutes with little effort.  Hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

3 pounds of turkey breast cutlets

2 tablespoons cooking oil

4 tablespoons butter

1 cup water

1/2 cup unsweetened apple juice (if you have trouble finding the unsweetened kind, it is okay to use regular)

2 chicken bouillon cubes

1/4 tsp. pepper

2 cups sour cream

1 pound sliced mushrooms (optional)

In a large skillet over medium heat cook turkey in oil and butter until golden brown and juices run clear.  Drain.  Place on plate and keep warm by covering with foil.  In the same skillet combine water and apple juice and bouillon cubes.  Stir to loosen all the browned bits on the bottom of the skillet and cook over medium heat until reduced by half.  Add pepper and reduce heat to low.  Whisk in the sour cream until well mixed and creamy.  If you want to add the mushrooms, first sauté them in a couple of tablespoons of butter till tender.  Add to cream sauce and mix in.  Serve cutlets over rice or mashed potatoes and spoon cream sauce over the top.  Makes about 6-8 servings.

Pecan cake with Fondant Frosting

Pecan cake with Fondant icing

This is a wonderful, light fluffy, moist cake with chopped pecans and a light fluffy frosting that resembles a light fondant.  It calls for a lot of egg whites and no egg yolks, but you can save the yolks for a pudding the next night.  The pecan lovers in your family will love this cake.  I know it is one of my favorites.

Cake

3 cups flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup water

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 tsp. almond extract

3/4 cup unsalted butter

1 3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup chopped pecans

3 large egg whites

Frosting

2 large egg whites

1 tsp. vanilla

1/8 tsp. almond extract

1/2 tsp. salt

3 cups sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

3/4 cup water

1/4 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour two 9 inch round cake pans, or three 8 inch round cake pans (I always put a circle of parchment paper in the bottom of each pan and then grease the paper).  Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.  Combine milk, water and extracts.  In a marge mixing bowl cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the dry ingredients in thirds, alternating with the milk mixture.  Scrape the bowl and then add the pecans.  In a separate bowl and clean beaters, beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry.  Fold the egg whites into the batter, gently.  Divide the batter between the two pans.  Bake for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick stuck into the center comes out clean.  Remove from oven and cool on racks before removing from pans.

Now make the frosting.  Beat the egg whites until foamy.  Add the extracts and salt.  Beat until the egg whites hold a medium peak.  In a medium saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, place the sugar, corn syrup and water.  Cook over medium heat stirring until the sugar dissolves.  Cover the pan for 2-3 minutes so the sugar crystals on the side slide down into the rest of the syrup.  Remove the lid and cook the syrup to 244-248 degrees on a candy thermometer.  Remove from the heat and with the mixer running, pour the hot sugar syrup slowly down the side of the mixing bowl into the egg whites.  Continue beating until the frosting stands in peaks and loses its gloss.  It should take about 10 minutes.  This frosting will be a little thicker than a 7 minute frosting.  Spread in between layers and over top and sides of cake quickly.  Sprinkle chopped pecans over center of cake.

Garlic and Rosemary Potato Pancakes

Garlic and Rosemary potato pancakes

Ever get tired of the same side dishes?  You can only change-up potatoes so many ways.  What do you do when you have a meat and potatoes person in the family?  You have to get creative.  This recipe mixes several of my favorites, garlic, rosemary and potato pancakes.  These are so easy to make and the addition of the garlic and rosemary makes it a dish that gets you out of the potato rut.  Be sure to squeeze as much liquid out of the mixture as you can, it just makes the pancakes much crisper.  If you like soft, creamier potato pancakes, don’t get rid of as much of the liquid.  Roast your own garlic.  It’s easy, you can do a whole head of garlic and save the extra, or just put the 5 large cloves in a piece of foil and stick it in the oven when you have something else in the oven cooking.  Let it cool and wrap the cloves in plastic wrap and store in the fridge till you need it.  Another tip – use fresh rosemary, it just makes them so much better than using dried.

4-5 large cloves roasted garlic, mashed

3/4 cup grated onion (I just run mine through the food processor till pretty small)

2 tsp. salt

1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary (can use 1/2 tsp. ground rosemary, but fresh is better)

1 large egg

1 1/2 lbs. baking potatoes

Vegetable oil for frying

Mix the garlic, onion, salt and rosemary until well combined.  Grate the potatoes (again, I just use the grating disk on my food processor, so much easier) and add to bowl.  Stir everything well and then put into a strainer over a bowl and press down with the back of a spoon, squeezing out all the liquid you can.  Let sit for a few minutes to allow any extra liquid drip off.  Return mixture to the bowl and add the egg.  Mix well.  Place a heavy frying pan (I like to use cast iron) over medium heat and add oil.  When the oil ripples on the surface of the pan, it is hot enough.  Put a quarter cup of the mixture in the pan and pat it down with your spatula, into a 4 inch pancake shape.  Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until golden brown and then turn and cook the other side.  Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels.  Hold in a 250 degree oven while you cook all the others.  This will give you about 8 pancakes.  Serve alone or with a small dollop of sour cream.