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Friday, July 26, 2013

OMG Bacon cheese burgers!

Most years my little family stays home on July 4th. We like to have a nice family day that includes some fireworks, fun and (hopefully Great) food. I try my best to cook our main meal over our fire pit especially since we built what I affectionately call my “redneck” grill.

Our menu looked like this:
Loaded baked potato salad
Green salad

Simple I know that’s why I try to bring something special to the table and this year I tried something new with our Burgers.

To start I diced about  1/3 of a red onion to yield about ¼ cup

Add salt and pepper about ½ teaspoon of each
Then I added some shredded cheddar I had in the freezer.
      (Note: in some of the pictures it shows a white cheese. That is because I forgot to take pictures of all the steps when I made them with Cheddar and When I made them the other day to freeze ahead all I had was mozzarella so I said what the heck, let’s give it a go!)

When you have all this mixed up  add  1.5 pounds of ground beef
         (Approximately an 80/20 blend. (I cannot tell you a specific fat content because we now get our beef from a local farmer and I do not know for sure the ratio at which the butcher grinds the meat/fat)

To make the patties more uniform I enlisted the help of my large stainless scoop. 

I scooped 1 portion, made a small patty then added a thin slice of butter, yes butter. 

This was a new one for me but I had heard the tip from a friend so I said “OK, why not” I mean its butter how could it be bad? The slice was about a teaspoon worth, or as thin as you can get from a cold stick of butter. Then add another scoop and continue to form your patty. 

Now the best part… wrap your patties with 2 slices of bacon. Mine is thicker and super smoky because along with the beef we just got our first whole pig so my bacon does look a bit more “rustic”

Now throw them on the grill!

When they are just about done top your burgers with your favorite cheese.
Don’t forget the buns! I splurged and got really nice buns and buttered them up and grilled them slightly before building our burgers. 

Top however you like!

We were very hungry by the time they were done so I do not have a good picture of the finished product :)
 Red Onion
shredded cheddar cheese
1.5 pounds of ground beef
1 stick of Butter (not Margarine!)
Burger buns
Dice approximately 1/3 of the onion to yield approximately ¼ of a cup and add it to a medium mixing bowl. Add ½ a teaspoon of salt and black pepper. Add ½ a cup of shredded cheese. Mix these all up well then add your ground beef. Mix well to distribute flavors but try not to over work the meat as it can make the burgers more tough. I find using my hands is the best way to mix them well.
Scoop approximately 1/4th of a cup of meat mixture and make  a small patty then added a thin slice of butter. Then add another 1/4th of a cup of meat mixture to form your patty.

Wrap your patties with 2 slices of bacon.

For best results grill burgers outdoors.

When the burgers are just about done top your burgers with your favorite cheese.

Butter both sides of the burger buns and grill them till they are golden.

Top with whatever other toppings you like!

This is a very basic burger recipe that you can easily tweak to your own tastes.
You could add some Worcestershire, hot sauce, diced Jalapeños just about anything.
My family loved them and I am making them for my daughter (at her request) and her friends when we celebrate her birthday tomorrow.

Wait till I tell you about our Desert!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter 2013...

I was not sure if I wanted to have a repeat of our our mostly homemade easter this year but my daughter decided for me. She begged for me to make our treats again. Now that I am working part time I was not sure if I could swing it but I had a light week last week since the kids were on spring break so I gave it a shot.

Notice the eggs on the window that the kids made yesterday. How fun is that? Oh and that white stuff on my lawn, yes that is still snow... I do not ever remember having this much snow on Easter EVER!

Our Breakfast Menu:
Fresh fruit... Cantaloupe, Strawberries & Grapes
Colored hard boiled eggs :)
A bit of bacon
Maple Sausage
Hopping Easter Bunny rolls   (It wouldn't be Easter without them)

The home made candy treats...
"Cadbury" eggs

"Reeses" eggs
"Peeps"  I forgot to take a picture before they got loaded into the baskets :)

lots of bunny rolls
Love this floppy eared "twisty" bunny!
I have links to most of the recipes for the candy in my previous Easter thread or click here

These Bunny rolls have been a tradition in my family since before I came along. My Great Aunt Christine Harris (otherwise known as "Auntie") found the recipe in a magazine and added them to the family brunch feast. I did not realize how much I missed them and all the traditions of our family Easter until I began making them for/with my kids.

Here is the recipe for the rolls with a printable version

Easter Bunny Rolls

1 Packet Yeast (or 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/4 cup water warmed
1 cup Milk Warmed
1/3 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Shortening
1 Teaspoon Salt
5-5 1/2 cups sifted all purpose flour
2 Eggs, beaten
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons orange zest (grated orange peel)

Soften yeast in warmed water.
Combine milk, sugar, shortening & salt. When lukewarm mix in 2 cups of the flour. Add eggs and mix well. Stir in softened yeast. Add orange juice and zest (peel).
Add flour one cup at a time until dough is just barely sticky and still soft.
Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 - 10 minutes. dough should be soft, smooth and elastic.
Place dough into a lightly greased bowl. Turn dough to cover completely wit a light coating of oil. Cover and let rise for at least 2 hours or until dough is double in size.
Punch dough down and let rest for 10 minutes.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

To shape into bunnies cut a piece of dough a bit smaller than your hand. On a clean un-floured surface roll out into a rope.
for twisty bunnies use one piece of dough proximately 6-8 inches long. form into a "U" shape. grab at the bottom of the "U" and twist 2 times to form bunny and ears. cut a piece of dough the size of a marble roll into a ball and place in the opening at the bottom to form the "bunny tail. Place on parchment paper

For double roll shape bunnies use the same length of dough to form to dough circles. Cut 3 small pieces of dough to form 2 ears and a tail. Make sure to "snug up" the tail and ears to the dough rolls well not just place them "next to" the rolls. Tip... I assemble this type of bunny roll right on my parchment paper.

Make sure to leave 1 1/2 to 2 inches between bunnies.

Cover and let the bunnies "proof"or rise a bit, about 30 minutes. Heat your oven to 375 degrees.

When rolls have puffed up a bit place them in oven and bake for 12 -15 minutes.

For a glossy look you can gently brush the rolls with an egg wash (whisked egg white and 1Tablkespoon of water) just before baking.

After the rolls have cooled store in an air tight container until ready to use. Frost just before serving.

Simple glaze recipe:
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 Tablespoon milk
1-2 cups of powdered sugar

Mix all ingredients to make a thin glaze

"Double roll" Bunny unfrosted

The "LOOT"

                                                                    Happy kids!

Happy Easter everyone!
Count your blessings and hug those you love as often as you can. You never know when life will throw you a curve ball!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Chicken Cordon Bleu casserole

Some meals are just a pain! There I said it! For me Chicken Cordon Bleu is one of those meals. We love it but I hate preparing it! It is just soooo putzy! We are talking like a 10 here folks.

About a year ago I ran across this recipe on Pinterest for Chicken Cordon Bleu casserole It is soooo good! Yes it is still a little bit putzy but it makes a lot! Today I actually split it into 2 8x8 casserole dishes and freeze one (I will let you know how that turns out later).

A few changes I make are that I personally hate swiss cheese. I know I'm missing out but I just can't get around it. I usually use a mix of whatever I have on hand. I have used Mozarella, Colby jack, Monterey jack, you name it. All have turned out fine. I do always use the Parmesan called for. I also usually make my own breadcrumbs. I actually haven't purchased bread crumbs in years!

Also I am thinking of using this sauce mixture as my "go to" Cream soup.It is that good and so versatile!

So head on over to Cooking Classy And drop Jaclyn a note to say thanks for this delicious recipe.

My Putz Factor... 3.5 but soooo worth it!

Edit 7.21.13   I have frozen this multiple times and it turns out awesome! I put it in an aluminum disposable pan (usually the smaller square) and freeze it (uncooked) after its frozen I can fit this size pan in a large zip top bag of in my large foodsaver bags. I try to take it out of the freezer the morning I want to bake it or at lease a few hours before. It takes 45 minutes to an hour depending on how frozen it is. Since it has raw chicken in it I err on the side of cooking a little longer.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A new variation on our favorite bread...

OMG... This is soooo good! I'm so happy my hubby picked up the wrong kind of flour last week! My favorite flour is Dakota Maid unbleached all purpose flour. My hubby mistakenly picked up Bread flour last  week. Now you may think this is not a big deal but if you want to make pancakes and muffins it does not work so well. Bread flour has more protein and gluten so things bake with a more dense consistency.  I wanted to use up the bread flour so I was doing some reading and decided I would try to adapt our favorite sandwich bread.
  I decided to try substituting a cup of wheat flour for a cup of the white all purpose and bread flour for the rest of the all purpose. My thinking was 1. I follow a similar process when making the light wheat from the Artisan bread in 5 minutes cook book. 2. you need more gluten when working with wheat flours because the tend to be more dense.

Here is the altered recipe Printable recipe is here

*Makes 2 loaves

3 cups luke-warm water
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp. yeast
1/3 cup oil
1 Tbsp. salt
 5- 6 cups bread flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water and sugar. Let sit 10 minutes. Add the oil. Add the dry ingredients starting with wheat flour, then add 1 cup of white flour and then add the salt. Mix until combined. Add flour 1 cup at a time until dough pulls away from the side of the bowl or knead the dough thoroughly until all ingredients are incorporated, and dough is smooth, elastic, very slightly sticky (6-10 minutes). As you knead the dough, you may add more flour as needed, and repeat the process until dough reaches the desired consistency. 
Cover the bowl of dough with a dish towel or plastic wrap and let rise until doubled (an hour or more depending on how warm your kitchen is.) If your kitchen is cold like mine you can place the covered bowl inside the oven with the oven light on, and another bowl of warm water sitting on the lower rack. Or if you are like me and your crockpot is always on the counter you can remove the cover, set a cooling rack on top and set heat to warm. Place your covered bowl on top. Warning! if your Crock pot runs hot turn it off after a while otherwise this is what happens :)
FYI this was not todays dough and I did manage to save the above batch and the bread was fine.
Punch the dough down, divide and and form into 2 loaves. Place the dough in 2 greased bread pans. (I use 9" pans.) Cover and let rise till the top of the dough is an inch or two above the bread pans. Even in my cold kitchen this part only takes about 30-45 minutes.
Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes. Brish the tops of the bread lightly with butter. Remove the baked loaves from their pans immediately, and place on a cooling rack.Slice and serve after they have cooled for at least an hour.

 Girl Approved!

Please disregard my children's disheveled look. We are  on spring break and getting dressed is not high on our priority list :)

                                                                      The Boy loves it too!

Putz Factor 3

Friday, January 18, 2013

Elaina's memory quilt

 Another addition to my "portfolio" of memory Quilts...

This project came about during a casual conversation with a friend. I had just finished the last Memory quilt project and her face lit up. She had been looking for someone to do a t-shirt quilt for her youngest daughter who had graduated from High School the year before. She had been feeling a bit guilty because her 2 older children had gotten similar quilts for their graduation gifts.

This project was fun but also a challenge. I had not done a quilt of this size and I needed to do different size blocks to accommodate as many of the shirts / memorabilia as possible.  I was more  than pleased with the results :)

If you know of anyone looking for something like this or my other memory quilts let me know.

Please know I take these projects very seriously. These are your memories after all and I will do my best to preserve them and show them off the best I can.

The best white sandwich bread ever!

Thank to Andrea over at Pennies & Pancakes I have been making this grandmas country white bread every week to 10 days. It is delicious & my family loves it!

 To change it up a bit I exchange 1 cup of white flour for 1 cup of wheat.

Tip: After placing loaves in loaf pans I time the rise. I keep my home pretty cold and 45 minutes us usually enough unless you want monster loaves. I like 30 minutes best.

Please visit her site to get the recipe (link is above) and see her savings breakdown.

Putz factor - 3