Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Nothing like a warm muffin on a cold winter day

Today I had occasion to make muffins for a friend, so I thought I would post my muffin recipes. I think peach muffins in the summer are the best, but you can make them with canned peaches if you must. We freeze blueberries just so we can have blueberry muffins in the winter.

Muffins make a gret breakfast on a frosty morning or a nice addition to a simple meal. Whenever they are served, muffins are best served warm. To make it easy to prepare breakfast muffins I often mix the dry ingredients the night before and put the liquid ingredients in a jar in the fridge. In the morning I preheat the oven, mix the wet and dry ingredients and pop them in the oven. I can usually be done in the shower by the time the muffins are ready. This helped greatly when i had to have breakfast ready for the triplets by tbe time they arrived in the morning.


Sweet Muffins
From the Orange Betty Crocker Cookbook circa 1979 (out of print)
Makes 12 muffins
Oven temp: 400 °

  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil or melted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Optional ingredients:
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup finely chopped apples + 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 °. Grease bottoms of 12 standard muffin cups (2 ¾ inches in diameter), spray with cooking spray or use foil or silicone muffin cups. Fruit muffins stick to paper muffin cups.

.Beat egg well. Stir in milk and oil, Mix in remaining ingredients just until flour is moistened. Gently stir in optional ingredients. Batter should be lumpy.

Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. I use the largets cookie scoop for evenly sized muffins. Bake 20-25 mminutes or until golden brown. Let stand in pan 3-5 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool on wire rack.


Oatmeal Muffins
From the Orange Betty Crocker Cookbook
Makes 12 muffins
Oven temp: 400 °

  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk soured with 1 tablespoon vinegar or 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil or melted butter
  • 1 cup quick oats or 1 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon b aking soda

Preheat oven to 400 °. Grease bottoms of 12 standard muffin cups (2 ¾ inches in diameter) or spray with cooking spray. Beat egg well. Stir in soured milk and oil, Mix in remaining ingredients just until flour is moistened. Batter should be lumpy.

Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake 20-25 mminutes or until golden brown. Let stand in pan 3-5 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool on wire rack.

Make this recipe into a quick mix by measuring dry ingredients for several recipes into ziplock bags. List additional needed ingredients on the bag with a permanent marker.



French Breakfast Puffs
From the Orange Betty Crocker Cookbook
Makes 12 muffins
Oven temp: 350 °

  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 °. Grease bottoms of 15 standard muffin cups (2 ¾ inches in diameter) or spray with cooking spray. Cream shortening, sugar and eggs. Stir in milk and vanilla. Stir in flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.
Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake 20-25 minutes. Mix ½ cup sugar and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon in a bowl. Dip baked muffins in melted butter and then roll in cinnamon sugar. Serve warm.

Peach Muffins
Original recipe by Anne Marie Huste
Adaptations- Laurie Rambo
Makes 12-15 muffins
Oven Temp: 400°
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 c. milk
  • ¼ c. melted butter
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 c. sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 cup peeled and diced peaches.

Blend all liquid ingredients together. Add dry ingredients and stir until just moistened. Gently fold in peaches. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Don't overfill! Bake 20-25 minutes. Makes 15 average sized muffins.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Chicken Salad

I am often asked for my chicken salad recipe. All the credit goes to the Joy of Cooking cookbook, circa 1979 which offers these guidelines that I have adapted into a recipe of my own.

The basic guideline is to use twice as much chicken in your salad as all other ingredients combined. I often make this for a crowd, so here is how I do it.

Simmer boneless chicken breasts (3-4 lbs) in enough water to cover the chicken completely. I season this chicken well by adding
  • 2-3 carrots
  • a large coarsely chopped onion,
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • a few cloves of garlic or a spoonful on prepared minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon parsley flakes
  • about 1 tsp. salt,
  • about 1 tsp thyme
  • about 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 3-4 peppercorns,
sometimes I add some rosemary or dill, depending on the mood and most of the ingredients can have more or less depending on your taste, or what is on hand.

Simmer the chicken until it is tender.

When the chicken is done, strain the broth and save for another use. Cool chicken.

When the chicken is cool enough to handle, coarsely chop the chicken. I usually chop about half in the food processor into small bits and chop the other half by hand to have larger bites in the salad. Make sure the bits of chicken are small enough to stay on a sandwich.

To make the salad:
  • 8 cups chopped chicken
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced onion
  • about 1 cup grated carrot
  • about 1 cup chopped celery
  • about 2 cups red grapes, quartered.

You can add any combination of ingredients, so it equals 4 cups altogether.

to the salad add
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup light sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste.

Blend into chicken mixture and refrigerate a couple of hours before serving to blend flavors.

Chicken salad is delicious served on home made wheat bread.

12/21/2012 update:  Recently I was out of sour cream, so I used a bit of buttermilk to thin the mayonnaise.  It was a great improvisation!  I might make it like that next time- on purpose!

Chewy Coconut Cookies

These cookies are very nice too. We have found that even people who don't like coconut like these cookies. Elisa, after eating one fresh from the oven one day said "These are like a soft, warm cloud of coconutty goodness melting in your mouth." From my dear one who doesn't really care for cookies anymore, that was the ultimate compliment.

The recipe is from the Land o' Lakes butter site.

CHEWY COCONUT COOKIES

Loaded with coconut and butter, these chewy cookies are bound to become family favorites.

Preparation time: 30 min Baking time: 9 min
Yield: 5 dozen cookies


1 c. butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
30 red or green candied cherries, halved


Heat oven to 350°F. Combine butter, sugar, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Reduce speed to low; add flour, baking powder and baking soda. Beat until well mixed. Stir in coconut by hand.

Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls, 2 inches apart, onto ungreased cookie sheets. Press 1 cherry half onto center of each cookie. Bake for 9 to 13 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Remove from cookie sheets.

Recipe Tip
Proper storing keeps cookies at their best. If you will not be eating your cookies within three days, freeze them. Make sure the cookies are completely cool before placing them in storage containers. Otherwise, they’re likely to stick together. Keep soft or chewy cookies separate from crisp ones.

Gingersnaps

These are my all-time favorite, Caleb's too!

Gingersnaps
From the Orange Betty Crocker Cookbook
Oven Temp: 375°

When measuring spices for this recipe I use generous measurements for a spicier cookie.

¾ cup butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 egg
¼ cup molasses
2 ¼ cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon cloves
¼ teaspoon salt
granulated sugar

Cream butter, brown sugar, egg and molasses. Blend in spices, salt and baking soda. Add flour. Chill dough one hour. Roll teaspoon sized balls of dough in granulated sugar or gourmet sugar. If making cofffee shop style cookies, flatten the cookies to about 1/2 inch. Bake at 375 degrees for 9-12 minutes, for teaspoon sized cookies. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes if making large coffee shop type cookies