Friday, April 15, 2011

Tator Tot Hotdish

This one goes out to all my Minnesota fans! If you are from Minnesota you know exaclty what Tator Tot Hotdish is. If you are not from that part of the country then you are most likely thinking, what the bleep is that. This is a Minnesota tradition. Chris had never experienced Tator Tot Hotdish, so I cooked it up for him the other night. This is not my pride and joy of cooking, but I did gussy it up just a tad.

1 lb ground beef
1 leek
2 cloves garlic
2 cans cream of mushroom soup - I used the Whole Foods version.
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup frozen peas
8-12 ounces pepper jack cheese
1 package Tator Tots

Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees. First saute the ground beef until it is cooked. Drain the fat out of the pan and set aside.

Throw the leeks and garlic into the pan and cook until they are soft.

add the meat back to the pan along with the cream of mushroom soup, corn and peas. Mix everything together. Pour the mixture into a 9 x 12 pan. Sprinkle a little bit of cheese on top of the meat mixture.

Now the fun really begins, you get to layer on all of the Tator Tots. Bake in a 450 degree over for 30 minutes.

Sprinkle on a little more cheese and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

I think Chris enjoyed his first serving of Tator Tot Hotdish. When we were at the Minnesota State Fair last year they had Tator Tot Hotdish on a stick and I am pretty sure we will be stopping by next year! Hope you enjoy this Minnesota Tradition.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Chewy Ginger Cookies

Chris and I went to Trader Joe's yesterday, as I stood in line I was tempted by a box of chewy ginger snap cookies, I decided I would make my own when I got home. My grandma made ginger cookies and I always thought it was fun to measure out the thick, sticky molasses. I wish I had the recipe that she used. I did a bunch of research online and mixed a few recipes together. I wanted a recipe that used butter, cloves, cinnamon, ginger and not too much sugar. I am very pleased with how they turned out, they have a nice flavor and are the perfect amount of crisp on the outside and chewy softness on the inside. I will be adding these to my cookie repertoire!

1/2 cup butter - softened
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon ground ginger- I may have added a touch more
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar - for topping

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Combine butter, sugar and molasses.

add the egg.

mix well.

Combine all of the dry ingredients.

Combine the wet and dry ingredients. The dough will be crumbly.

Pour some sugar into a bowl, roll the dough into 1 inch balls and toss them around in the sugar. Place on cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes.

and out of the oven come these little delicious things. This is a warning that you might eat 3-4 cookies immediately upon them coming out of the oven.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Apple Sauce with Cranberries

I went to a latke cooking class this past fall with a few of my friends. It was at the Spertus Institute in Chicago. Chef Laura Frankel showed us how to make amazing latkes and how to make homemade apple sauce. Who knew it was so easy to make apple sauce. I will never buy jarred apple sauce again. I will post the latke recipe soon! oh they are so good!

6 granny smith apples
1 cup cranberries - fresh or frozen
1/2 cup cranberry juice or apple juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1-2 teaspoons grated ginger
1/4 cup sugar

Peel, core and cut the apples into medium size pieces.

Grate some ginger. I use a microplane to make it really fine.

Place all the ingredients in a small pan, bring to a boil and then lower heat. Simmer until all the ingredients have cooked down, about 20-25 minutes. Stir it every so often. Soon you will have delicious homemade apple sauce. It is great for mid day snacks!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Rosemary Crackers

I know you are going to think I am crazy, who makes crackers when you can just pick up a box at the store. Well I have this strange little addiction to making things that you could normally just buy. I love challenging myself and realizing that you can make something great that doesn't come out of a box. Chris has been in a bread frenzy, he has become a little addicted to making bread, hopefully he posts something about his bread soon ;) Around the holidays our cheese drawer in the refrigerator became packed full. I love having cheese with crackers...yum yum. I could eat that for dinner and I think I did a few nights this week. This post is lacking pictures, cause we were multi- tasking in the kitchen that night, I was making Curried Cauliflower, which I will post soon. Enough rambling and onto the delicious Crackers.

1 3/4 cups flour
1 tablespoon dried rosemary- crumble it up before adding in.
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup olive oil
chunky salt- for topping

Heat your oven to 350 degrees. If you have a pizza stone place that in the middle rack. Don't worry if you don't have one, you can easily bake the crackers on a baking sheet.

Mix together flour, rosemary, baking powder and salt. Make a hole in the middle of the dry ingredients, add the water and olive oil. Work the dough into a ball. I tend to knead it in the bowl, you can do this on a floured surface as well.

Divide the dough into 3 or 4 balls. Roll each ball out on parchment paper. You want to get the dough pretty thin. about 1/8 of an inch. Make sure to keep lifting it off the parchment and adding flour if you need to. You can try different thickness with the batches.

Once the crackers are rolled out, use a pizza wheel to cut them into squares, rectangles or whatever shape you would like. Next you need to poke holes in the top with a fork. If you don't do this the crackers will get very puffy! We forgot for one batch and we had PUFFY crackers.

Now it is time to add salt, lightly push it into the dough.

Bake on the parchment. If using a pizza stone, just place the parchment onto the stone. If using a baking sheet, place parchment on sheet and put into the oven.

Bake for about 10 minutes, but you need to rotate them about every 2-3 minutes. Keep a watchful eye on them, we burned a batch cause we turned our eye for a minute.

Hopefully you will end up with great crackers. I plan to make a big batch this weekend and keep them in the pantry, if I can keep my hands off of them!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Sangamon Cooks Calendar Giveway

I have created a 2011 Sangamon Cooks calendar. Find a recipe on Sangamon Cooks that you would like to try out in 2011, put a comment on the recipe and you will be entered to win a 2011 Sangamon Cooks calendar. All entries must be in by December 30th. The winner will be announced on December 31st! Good luck!

*Mylene you are the winner of the calendar. You should receive it in the mail soon!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Chocolate Crackle Cookies

My grandma made these cookies every Christmas. They are my favorite Christmas cookie. I was never a real fan of sugar cookies, but man do I love these cookies. My grandma, would sometimes put nuts in her cookies, but I opted out this time. I think they taste like a mini brownie. My grandma was the best baker, I spent many Saturdays at her house baking. We would make donuts, chocolate chip cookies, scones (which we never perfected), popovers, banana bread, cakes and many many other things. She would never make something from a box, that was a serious sin! I will always remember her when I make these cookies! miss you grandma!

1 2/3 cup flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder - Droste Cocoa is my favorite
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup powdered sugar - confectioners sugar

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees

Mix all of the dry ingredients together - flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.

Put the sugar and butter into a bowl.

Mix on medium speed for about 3 minutes... I love my Kitchenaid!

Add the eggs one at a time, mix until creamy.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix well. The dough will be very thick.

Roll the dough into balls. Roll the balls in the powdered sugar and place on a buttered baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Enjoy the deliciousness!

Winter Salad

This is a great winter salad and it has such nice colors. Sometimes in the winter you need a break from the stews, braises and soups. A nice crisp salad is often refreshing. Or maybe in the new year you will be looking for many salads to eat, I know I will....I have been eating every cookie in sight. This recipe is very general.

beet - 1/2 diced
radish - 4 or 5 slices
bacon - 1 or 2 slices chopped
sliced almonds
goat cheese
salt & pepper
olive oil

Toss everything in a bowl and enjoy!