Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Beef Brisket

One of my items on my 30 by 30 To Do List was a beef brisket. We haven't been able to smoke brisket successfully (yet, we've only really tried once -- too dry) but it is something I love if done correctly (and served chopped rather than just sliced). I knew Hubby was having a rough series of meetings starting today so I decided it was as good of a day as any for my first oven brisket attempt.

The results were delicious and I'm not planning on doing anything differently next time this bad boy makes an appearance on the menu. Number 9 is off the list!

Beef Brisket
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman
Serves 4

2.5 lb beef brisket
1 packet dried onion soup mix
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
2 Tbsp dark brown sugar
  1. Grease a casserole dish and trim fat off the of brisket.
  2. Dry rub the brisket using the seasoning and 1 Tbsp of brown sugar.
  3. In a small bowl combine the onion soup mix, ketchup, water, Worcestershire, and 1 Tbsp of brown sugar.
  4. Pour the sauce over the brisket and cover the casserole with foil. Refrigerate until you are ready to bake (2 hours to overnight...can't go wrong!)
  5. When you are ready, bake the covered dish at 275 (you can go ahead and throw it in while the oven is preheating, no big deal).
  6. Cook for about 3 hours then uncover and turn the meat over. Recover and bake for another 2-3 hours.
  7. The brisket should easily fall apart when done. Remove from the dish and slice, against the grain. Return to the pan with the sauce to serve.

Strawberry Mini Muffins

A girls weekend away requires mini muffins. No arguments about that from this peanut gallery. I believe these will do the trick ;-)

Happy Birthday Tessa =)

Strawberry Mini Muffins

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Zest and juice from one lemon
1 1/4 cup chopped strawberries

Crumb Topping
1/3 cup oatmeal
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons chilled butter, diced
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease muffin tin (or line with paper liners)
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Using a stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream together butter, cream cheese, and sugar.
  4. Add in milk, eggs, vanilla, lemon juice and zest until combined.
  5. Stir in the flour mixture until combined, then fold in the strawberries.
  6. In a small food processor combine all the crumb topping ingredients and pulse until the mixture has a coarse crumb texture.
  7. Fill the muffin tins a little more than 1/2 full of batter then sprinkle on crumb topping (in total should not be more than 3/4 full) and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.
These turned out a bit more moist than I had intended, and the "crumb" topping was more like a cobbler or crisp topping rather than super "crumbly"...there were no complaints from the girls though, so I'm going to say this was a win ;-)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Smokey Bacon and Broccoli Mac and Cheese

As a result of some poor planning on my part I had quite the assortment of leftover ingredients from recipes that never came to fruition. One thing led to another and Smokey Bacon and Broccoli Mac and Cheese was born.

Smokey Bacon and Broccoli Mac and Cheese

12 oz small pasta (mini penne was my choice)
3-4 oz. bacon, cooked and chopped
1 small box frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
4 Tbsp butter
4 Tbsp flour
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 c milk (I did a skim and whole combo)
4 oz Fontina cheese, grated
4 oz smoked Gouda cheese, grated
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
Pinch cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper, to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Using a large pot, boil the noodles according to the package instructions for al dente. Strain and set a side reserving pot for later.
  3. In a large sauce pan, melt the butter on medium-high heat.
  4. Whisk in flour and garlic and cook until golden brown, stirring constantly. (A spatula works just fine as I still haven't replaced my silicone whisk so this is my bechamel go-to at the moment.)
  5. Add in milk and continue stirring over medium-high heat until the sauce thickens and bubbles begin to form.
  6. Remove from the heat and add in your spices, bacon, and cheeses stirring until melted.
  7. In the large pot, combine the noodles, broccoli, and cheese mixture then pour into a greased casserole dish (I used a 2 1/2 quart round dish).
  8. Sprinkle with extra grated cheese (optional) and bake for 20-30 minutes or until bubbly.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Bacon Breadstick Focaccia

So this weekend I co-hosted a baby shower where the menu followed a theme.


The menu was comprised of:

Bacon and Cheese Dip
Bacon Breadstick Focaccia
Spinach Salad with Crumbled Backon
Cauliflower Soup with Bacon Garnish
Maple Bacon Cupcakes

Does that not sound AMAZING?!

It was, just take my word for it.

Bacon Breadstick Focaccia
Adapted from
Makes 2 Small Focaccia*

1 can of refrigerated breadstick dough
2.1 oz package of precooked bacon slices
2 pieces of string cheese (4 if you want both focaccia to have cheese)
1 egg
Garlic Salt, to taste
Italian Seasoning, to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 and prepare a baking sheet (your choice: parchment, baking mat, cooking spray, etc.)
  2. Slice the cheese into quarters long ways to make 8 longs strips.
  3. Unroll the breadsticks and layer each with a piece of cheese (for half of the breadsticks) and a piece of bacon.
  4. Roll the breadstick/bacon combo into two pinwheels, one with cheese and one without.
  5. Beat one egg and brush over the top of the bread.
  6. Dice the extra slices of bacon (if you haven't eaten them already) and sprinkle over the top along with the garlic salt and Italian seasoning.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

*I have done one big pinwheel and two small ones and the two small ones seems to turn out better.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Sticky Toffee Pudding

While on business travel in England my husband has discovered an amazing dessert, Sticky Toffee Pudding. Apparently he has ordered it all over the country for practically every meal. For his birthday last night I decided to see if I could figure out how to make Sticky Toffee Pudding here at home and the results were amazing. This dessert is no joke and I can see why he calls it "the best thing about England".

Sticky Toffee Pudding
Adapted from FoodNetwork
Serves 4-6

1 cup plus 1 Tbsp flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup pitted dates, finely chopped
1 1/4 cup boiling water
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease a square baking dish.
  2. Place the chopped dates into a small bowl with the baking soda and then pour in the boiling water. Stir and set aside.
  3. Beat together butter and sugar with a stand mixer, then add in egg and vanilla.
  4. Slowly mix in flour, baking powder, and salt until combined.
  5. Fold in the date mixture into the batter until combined (it will be really wet/runny).
  6. Pour into prepared baking dish and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the top of the pudding cake is set.
  7. Remove cake from oven while you make the sauce.
  8. In a small sauce pan combine the sugar, butter, and heavy cream.
  9. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
  10. Boil on medium low for 8-10 minutes (still stirring constantly) or until the sauce thickens.
  11. Take 2/3 cup of the sauce and pour directly onto the cake.
  12. Broil the cake until bubbly (1-2 minutes).
  13. Serve with vanilla ice cream and drizzle toffee sauce on top.
Do it, you won't regret a single moment.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

30 by 30

I decided to make a list of thirty things that I want to do by the time I'm thirty. As I most recently turned twenty-eight, I thought this was appropriate. This in an all encompassing list of items spanning various areas of life and should be pretty entertaining to complete. Since most are in fact food related I thought this was as good of a place to publish this list as any...and maybe, just maybe, by putting myself out there, I'll actually get through my list before I'm know...since it's already been several months with my list kept to myself and not a lot has gotten done...oops, my bad!

Without further adieu, in no particular order, here is my list:
  1. Bake a cheesecake in my spring-form pan, not from a box mix.
  2. Create a Beef Stew recipe that Hubby will eat.
  3. Scour the Internet for a Chicken with Black Bean Sauce recipe reminiscent of the dish at PF Changs. (Hubby's request)
  4. Perfect Snickerdoodles (since they have eluded me thus far!)
  5. Bake bread made with yeast.
  6. Attempt one Julia Child recipe.
  7. Bake a Martha Stewart cupcake successfully.
  8. Reorganize/redesign pantry storage situation (okay, so this will mostly be Hubby, but I can help!)
  9. Discover a delicious beef brisket recipe...smoker or no smoker I need to figure out how to get some tasty brisket into my belly!
  10. Get a decent understanding of the book of Revelation.
  11. Scripture Memory - complete at least one year of the Living Proof Ministries (Beth Moore's) Scripture Memory Challenge.
  12. See Beth Moore live, or attend another women's conference.
  13. Reacquaint ourselves with a young couples' ministry.
  14. Read through the Bible chronologically.
  15. Watch the Godfather Movies.
  16. Do one of the Oscar days at the movie theater where you watch all the best picture nominations in one day/weekend.
  17. Read more...a lot more. Granted this isn't measurable, so let's say (realistically) 15 books.
  18. Get a library card to assist in accomplishing #17.
  19. Be better about having Date Nights and actually taking advantage of babysitting offers.
  20. Become a KCBS Certified BBQ Judge, just like Hubby.
  21. Complete wedding scrapbook.
  22. Dine at one of the Top Chef contestants' restaurants...or more ;-)
  23. Attempt a Top Chef contestant recipe.
  24. Attain a reasonable/healthy weight and maintain so I can go through my closet and actually get rid of some clothes that are never going to happen again.
  25. Figure out a plan for the master bath (our master suite is structurally confusing and slowly we're working on it.)
  26. Take a vacation... preferably one that does not require me to cook or clean house although a rental situation requiring such things would be an acceptable second vacation ;-)
  27. WVU Girls Weekend =) Maybe two of them ;-) Or three 0=)
  28. Swimming lessons, namely for LJ, but it couldn't hurt me either to become more comfortable in the water.
  29. Go to the eye doctor, probably should happen since it's been since my 2002 Lasik surgery.
  30. Figure out what I want to be when I'm not a stay-at-home-mom anymore =P
I reserve the right to alter this list as I deem necessary...

I'll revisit the list and give updates periodically, I'm already impressed by how many things I'm actually working on without having looked at the list since February, ha! Stay tuned!