Broccoli cheese casserole

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WOW! This is definitely a grown up version of a comfort food I loved as a kid. As I have already said, I do not like Velveeta or cheese whiz (which many of these recipes have). This packs a ton of flavor with real cheese ingredients. It is not dry and not over wet. It is really as perfect combination. It is a also a great way to use leftover rice.

 

1 leek, cleaned and trimmed white parts only

1/2 yellow onion, diced

1 shallot, diced

1 large head fresh broccoli, trimmed

4 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon mustard powder

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder

2 cups cooked white rice – leftover works great

2 cups milk

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, diced small or shredded

3 tablespoons cream cheese

1/2 sleeve of Ritz crackers, crushed

 

Bring a pot of water to boil. Add the broccoli florets. Boil 3-5 minutes. Drain well and allow to drain in a strainer while preparing the rest so that all of the water is removed.

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In a saucepan, melt the butter and cook the onion, shallot, and leek for 5-10 minutes or until soft but not caramelized. Add the dry mustard, paprika, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Stir well.

Add the flour. Mix well. Slowly add in the milk stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Cook while stirring 2-3 minutes. Add in the cream cheese and cheddar cheese. Stir constantly until melted. Remove from the heat.

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In a large bowl, combine the broccoli, rice, and cheese sauce. Mix fully. Pour this into a prepared 8×10 casserole pan. Top with the crushed Ritz crackers. Bake uncovered in a 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes or until top is just browned.

 

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Grandma Mullich’s Cheesecake

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No spring form pan? Don’t want to mess with baking in a water bath? No problem.

While this is not a super tall New York style cheesecake, it compares with any small bakery style cheesecakes that are typically frozen. This is MUCH better. Use any topping that you choose… fruit, snickers bars, whipped cream, nothing…. you choose.

 

1 graham cracker crust

12 ounces cream cheese, softened

2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk

2 large eggs – yolks and whites divided

1/3 cup sour cream

2 tablespoon powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind – optional

 

In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until fluffy on high speed.

Add in the sweetened milk. Add in the yolks of 2 eggs. Add the sour cream, powdered sugar, vanilla, lemon rind, and salt.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold the beaten egg whites into the cream cheese mixture. Pour this mixture into the crumb crust.

Bake in 300 degree oven for 30-40 minutes or until center is set to a finger touch. Cool completely before adding any toppings. It is best to cool and refrigerate overnight before serving.

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Sauteed spinach and leeks

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1 leek – cleaned and chopped just the white parts

4 slices bacon

1 tablespoon butter

salt and pepper

11 ounce package of fresh spinach

 

Cut the bacon into very small 1/2 inch pieces. Fry the bacon until done. Drain the back and discard the grease.

Leave the bacon out of the pan. On medium heat, add the butter and leek. Saute for about 2-3 minutes. When wilted, add the spinach. Turn constantly and cook about 5-10 minutes or until all of the spinach is wilted. Add the crispy bacon. Salt and pepper to taste.

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Peanut butter corn flake treats

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These are not a giant new idea. It is almost the same as Rice Krispie treats with a twist. Sometimes when you do not have the correct ingredients, you have to compromise.

 

1 bag marshmallows

4 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

6 cups corn flakes

 

Mix the marshmallows and butter in a bowl. Microwave for about 3 minutes stirring every 30 seconds until fully melted. Stir in peanut butter. When fully mixed, add in corn flakes. Press the mixture into a greased 9×13 pan. Refrigerate until cool about 2-3 hours. Cut into bars.

 

 

 

Jalapeño popper potatoes

Jalapenos are a little tricky. Some are super spicy and some are mild/sweet. The ones I used for this were definitely mild. Cooking them prior will help decrease their heat. If I felt that my peppers were really spicy I would definitely not use 6. Also please keep in mind that the cream cheese definitely decreases the spice level significantly.
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3 russet potatoes, peeled and diced

6 slices of bacon

1 cup yellow onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

4-6 jalapeños, seeded and diced – see above notes

4 ounces cream cheese

1 cup shredded colby jack cheese

1 cup half and half or milk

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup Panko bread crumbs

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Dice the bacon into very small pieces.  In a saucepan, cook the bacon until done. Remove the bacon from the pan. Using 1-2 tablespoons of the bacon grease, cook the onion, garlic and jalapeño about 5 minutes of until tender.

Add the cream cheese, bacon, and milk/half and half. Stir constantly until the cream cheese melts. Add the salt and Colby jack and continue to stir. Remove from the heat.

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Place the diced potatoes into a prepared and buttered 9×13 baking dish. Pour the cheese sauce on top. Cover with foil. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes.

Remove and sprinkle the top with Panko. Bake uncovered for an additional 15 minutes.

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Pecan cinnamon rolls

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These are A M A Z I N G! If you have never had a fresh home made cinnamon roll, you are missing out.

I have to say that they will disappear really fast. They are not hard to make at all. The hardest part is waiting for the dough to rise, but we all have a lot of time on our hands these days.

 

 

Dough:

1 packet of quick yeast

1/2 cup 100 degree water

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup butter flavored shortening

1 teaspoon salt

1 egg

3 1/2 cup all purpose flour

 

Filling:

1/2 cup melted butter

1/2 cup chopped pecans

3/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cinnamon

 

Frosting:

1/4 cup cream cheese

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup butter

1-1.5 cup powdered sugar

 

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Let it sit for 5 minutes. The water temperature is so very critical for this to work. Check the temperature with a thermometer.

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In a large bowl, melt the shortening and the milk in the microwave for 30-40 seconds. Mix in the sugar, egg,  and salt. Stir until combined.

 

Add the flour and mix well. Pour in the yeast. Mix with hands until fully combined. Wrap the bowl in plastic wrap and let it sit in a warm place for 60-90 minutes. The dough should double in size. You can use the bread proof setting on your oven. The warm place should be about 80-100 degrees.

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Punch the dough down and move it to a flowered surface. Roll it out into a rectangle that is roughly 9×13 or the size of a tea towel. Pour the melted butter on the top. Combine the cinnamon and sugar and place this on top as well. Sprinkle the pecans.

 

 

Roll the dough starting the from the long side. Use a sharp knife to slice it into 1-2 inch circles. Lay these slices in a greased 9×13 baking pan. Place them about 1/2 inch apart. As they continue to rise you will want the edges to touch. Let them rise for another 30 minutes. Bake them for 30 minutes.

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For the glaze, melt the cream cheese and butter for 30 seconds in the microwave. Stir to fully combine. Add in the vanilla. Mix in the powdered sugar. Pour this over the warm rolls.

Crisco flakey biscuits

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These biscuits are super easy and were very good. I think they might have been the best I have ever made. It made 8 biscuits which was perfect for the 5 of us. I am not really a fan of leftover biscuits because they don’t store well.

 

1/2 cup butter flavored Crisco

2 cups white flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cup milk

2 tablespoons melted butter

 

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir until fully combined. Begin to add the Crisco by mixing it into the flour with a fork. The mixture will become crumbly. Mix until it appears as the photo below.

 

Add in the milk and stir until just combined. Do not over stir.

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Prepare a floured surface on a tea towel or baking sheet. Transfer the dough to this surface. Do not roll the dough. Press it gently with your fingers until it is about 1/2 inch thick. Use a round biscuit cutter or a floured end of a glass to cut rounds. Keep the rounds as close as possible because if you re-mix the dough it will not look the same and will fall apart.

Place the rounds in a prepared baking pan with the edges touching. Bake in the 425 degree oven for 9-13 minutes or until golden brown. Rub the tops with melted butter. Bake 1 additional minute.

Sugar cookie bars

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These bars are buttery and just lightly sweetened. They are almost like a shortbread cookie but have a doughy sugar cookie center.

 

12 tablespoons room temperature butter

3/4 cup white sugar

1/4 cup powdered sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups flour
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Using a mixer, cream the butter and sugars. Add eggs, vanilla, almond extract, salt, and baking powder. Remove from the mixer and hand mix in the flour until just combined.

Press the mixture into a prepared 9×13 baking pan. Add sprinkles. Bake at 375 degrees for 25-35 minutes until the edges are light brown and the center is set. The center will curve outward slightly when done. Do not over bake. Cool 10 minutes and then cut into squares while in the pan. Allow to cool about an hour before removing the bars from the pan.

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Pineapple upside-down cake

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This is a very old fashioned recipe from my grandma. I really like the cake portion. Since this is a very sweet kind of cake, I feel like the traditional box mix type cake is just too much sweet. Also, the texture of this cake is unique and similar to angle food cake. The edges remain crisp while the top is gooey.

 

1 large can pineapple slices

1 small jar maraschino cherries

1/2 stick butter

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

4 eggs – separate whites from yolks

1 cup white sugar

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon baking powder

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In the pan (whether a glass pie dish or cast iron skillet), place the butter and dark brown sugar. Place this in the oven and allow it to melt and cook while you prepare the cake.

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Place the egg whites in a mixing bowl. Mix on high speed until fluffy. They should be just before they begin to form peaks and look like this.

 

Add in the sugar and then the egg yolks.

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Next, add the vanilla, baking powder, and then finally the flour.

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Remove the pain with the sugar and butter from the oven. Layer the pineapple slices as well as the maraschino cherries. Use as much as you like. There is no right or wrong on this step.

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Pour the cake batter on top of these fruits. Return the pan to the oven. Bake for 20-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cast iron baked cake takes longer. A glass pie plate will cook faster.

 

Allow the cake to cool 10 minutes. Place a plate over the cake upside down. Grab both dishes and flip the cake to where the pie pan is now on top. Slowly lift the pie pan and the cake will fall out onto the plate with the fruit layer on top. Cool fully before eating.

 

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Baked mushroom barley

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I have always enjoyed side dishes that are low maintenance so I can put my time into other things. This dish is filling enough to also be a vegetarian main dish.

3 tablespoons butter

1 onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound sliced mushrooms

1 cup pearled barley

2 3/4 cups chicken broth

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

salt and pepper to taste

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a dutch oven, over medium heat, melt the butter. Sauté the onion, garlic, and mushrooms for 5 minutes. Add the barley and cook 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth and thyme. Bring to a boil. Cover and place the dutch oven into the preheated oven. Cook 60-70 minutes without peeking or stirring.


When you first open the dutch oven all of the mushrooms will be on top. Stir and top with parsley.

 

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