Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Tater Tot Hotdish

Serves 6 to 8

Be sure to buy the cylinder-shaped frozen tater tots (not crispy crowns or coins). Do not thaw the tots or the vegetables; they go into the hotdish frozen. For the best browned and crunchy tater tots, bake in a 13 by 9-inch Pyrex dish (deeper dishes inhibit browning). Don’t be tempted to turn on your broiler; Pyrex cannot withstand the broiler’s direct heat. Depending on the dish, you may have about 1 cup of tater tots leftover. Serve with ketchup.

1½ pounds 85 percent lean ground beef
1 pound white mushrooms, trimmed and sliced thin
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1½ cups whole milk
1½ cups chicken broth
3 ounces grated Parmesan cheese (1½ cups)
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen corn
1 (2-pound) bag frozen tater tots

1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Cook beef, mushrooms, onion, garlic, thyme, 1½ teaspoons salt, and 1½ teaspoons pepper in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until nearly all liquid has evaporated, 25 to 28 minutes, breaking up beef with spoon.

2. Stir in flour until no dry spots remain and cook for 1 minute. Stir in milk and broth, scraping up any browned bits, and bring to simmer. Cook until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Off heat, stir in Parmesan. Transfer to 13 by 9-inch baking dish.

3. Sprinkle peas and corn evenly over beef mixture. Lightly place tater tots in even layer over top, but do not press into mixture (you may have extra). Bake until tater tots are deep golden brown and filling is bubbling, 35 to 38 minutes, rotating dish halfway through baking. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving.

To Make Ahead

Hotdish can be prepared through step 2: Let cool completely, cover, and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. When ready to cook, cover with aluminum foil and bake until hot in center, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove foil, stir, sprinkle evenly with peas and corn, place tater tots on top, and bake as directed in step 3.

NOTES: This is a test recipe.

  • I made a half batch with a pound of hamburger.
  • Used dried thyme instead of fresh
  • Missed the direction to layer the veggies (and I mixed them into the meat mixture).
  • We all liked it a lot!  The sauce is much better than canned soup and there are none of those nasty little carrot cubes.  I'd make it again.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Chewy Italian Rolls

1 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/4 cup King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour
1 cup water
1/8 teaspoon instant yeast

biga (from above)
2 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast


  • To make the biga: Mix all of the ingredients until well blended. Cover the bowl, and let rest at room temperature for 12 to 20 hours, until the mixture is very bubbly.
  • To make the dough: Mix the biga with the remaining ingredients for 2 to 4 minutes, using an electric mixer set on slow speed. Increase the mixer speed to medium, and mix for about 4 minutes; the dough will be soft and slightly sticky. Add additional water or flour if necessary.
  • Let the dough rise in a greased bowl, covered, for 1 to 2 hours, until very puffy.
  • Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface, and shape it into a 6" x 12" rectangle. Using a bench knife or pizza wheel, cut out eight 3" square rolls. Place the rolls, floured side up, onto parchment paper. Let them rise for about 45 minutes, lightly covered, until they're puffy.
  • Place a baking stone in the top third of your oven, and preheat the oven to 450°F.
  • Bake the rolls for 13 to 15 minutes, until they're golden brown. Remove them from the oven, and cool on a rack.
  • Yield: 8 rolls.
  • Outstanding texture!  Well worth the wait.
  • I'd cut into 12 instead of 8 next time.  They're big enough that we're cutting them in half for a reasonable serving anyway.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Tikka Masala

Excellent sauce at a great Aldi price!  Just combine with cooked chunks of chicken and sweet peppers and serve over rice.  (They sell jasmine rice at Aldi now too!)

Monday, January 30, 2017

Rice. Just plain rice.

Great texture, no scorching, dump into the pot and move on to the stir fry and potstickers.

Equal proportions of white rice and water. (Maybe just a bit of extra water.
Rinse the rice and put it in the water.
Lock the lid in place and push the Rice button.

I used this very wordy post to begin.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

70s Comfort Food :-)


  • 7 slices canned unsweetened pineapple (20-ounce can)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter (more below)
  • ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 19 maraschino cherries
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk  (more below)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 6 tablespoons buttermilk


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Have ready a 9x2-inch round cake pan. Drain pineapple and place in one layer on paper towels to absorb the excess juice.

2. Place the 3 tablespoons unsalted butter in the cake pan. Place the pan in the oven until the butter is melted. Tilt to coat all sides with butter. The extra butter will settle in the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the bottom of the pan.

3. Place one pineapple ring in the center of the pan and arrange six more around it. Place the maraschino cherries in the center of each ring and in the spaces between them.

4. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, 2 tablespoons of buttermilk and vanilla with a fork.

5. In a mixer bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter and 6 tablespoons of buttermilk. Beat on low speed just until the flour is moistened, then increase the speed to medium, or high if using a handheld mixer, and beat for exactly 1½ minutes. The batter will be stiff. Add one-third of the egg mixture at a time, beating for exactly 20 seconds and scraping the bowl after each addition. Scrape the batter over the fruit in the pan and spread evenly.

6. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven and tilt the pan in all directions to detach it from the sides of the pan. Let cool for 2 to 3 minutes before unmolding.

7. Invert a serving platter on top of the pan. Cover your hands with oven mitts and turn the cake onto the platter. Lift off the pan. If any fruit or cherry pieces are askew, use a fork to push them back into place. If any brown sugar is left in the pan, scrape it up and spoon it over the cake. Serve warm or cool.

makes one 9-inch cake
30 minutes
35 to 40 minutes

NOTES: Buttery and a manageable size for my smaller family.  I'd make it again!
SOURCE: Brown-Eyed Baker

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Grandma's (in)famous Cranberry Relish

People have strong love/hate feelings about this recipe, but it's worth recording here.

16 ounce bag of rinsed raw cranberries
2 crisp apples, cut into thick slices
1 large, whole (peel ON) seedless orange, cut into sections
1 to 2 cups granulated sugar (depending on how sweet you would like your relish to be)


  • Chop in your food processor until it's the texture you like.  Don't overprocess if you want it to be like Grandma's.
  • Mix in the sugar and store in a sealed container.  Start with one cup and add more later if necessary.

"Fun" fact: Grandma likes to eat this as an ice cream topping.
Funner fact: Make a batch for Thanksgiving and it'll still be good at Christmas.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Denise's Molasses Cookies

1 ½ cups butter (softened)               
2 cups white sugar                            
2 eggs                                                 
½  cup molasses                                                                     
4 cups flour

1  Tlbs. baking soda
1  tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1  tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cloves  

Preparation and Instructions:

Mix together all the wet ingredients, add all dry ingredients to that.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees roll dough into balls and roll in white sugar.  Bake for 8-10 minutes until tops are cracked.
Cool on wire racks.

- I usually double the amount of spices and toss in a heaping spoonful of fresh ginger paste if I have it available.
- If you try to bake more than one pan at a time, they may not develop cracks in the top
- I also sprinkle a couple of drops of water on the top of each to help encourage cracking.

From Denise at Dad's office.