Sunday, September 30, 2018

Whole Grain, High Protein Cheese Muffins

This recipe comes from the blog Ben & Birdy, and she in turn got it from The Pioneer Woman.  For once, I did not change anything about the recipe!  I've had really good luck with recipes from that blog, so don't usually tinker with them excessively.
This was my first time using spelt flour.  They also have whole wheat flour.  I like the flavor and texture of whole grains, but believe me when I say they do not taste like they're made with whole grain flours and they are very moist, soft, cheesy, and delicious!  I mean, there's twice as much cheese as flour, how could they not be moist and wonderful?  My husband and I both loved them.
These muffins are exceptionally high in protein because whole grain flours have more protein than white and each muffin has a full serving of cheese, which is of course also full of protein.  They also have fewer carbohydrates than most muffins since each muffin only has 2 tablespoons of flour, which is half a serving.  You can either feel very virtuous while you devour your single muffin, or you can take it as your cue to eat a second muffin.  Entirely up to you!
Our muffins sadly met with disaster when they were cooling and all but 1 ended up knocked on the floor, but we did enjoy the ones we ate and I can confirm the miracle survivor muffin reheated nicely in the toaster the next day!
Whole Grain, High Protein Cheese Muffins
1 C spelt flour
1/2 C whole wheat flour
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
3 C shredded sharp cheddar (this is 3/4 lb- I used bagged cheese)
4 Tbsp butter
1/2 C buttermilk (I just mixed a teaspoon of vinegar with 1/2 C milk and let it sit for a few minutes)
1/2 C regular milk
1 egg
Preheat oven to 375 and grease a 12 hole nonstick muffin tin.  These will probably stick badly to tin that is not nonstick!  Set aside.
Stir together the dry ingredients, then stir in the grated cheese.
Melt the butter in a 2 cup glass measuring cup in the microwave, then add the buttermilk, regular milk, and egg.  Beat with a fork until the egg is well mixed.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir just until well combined.
Divide batter evenly among the muffin tin wells and bake until golden and a toothpick comes out clean, about 17-22 minutes.  These are very moist muffins because of the cheese so the toothpick may be a little wet looking, but clear-wet, not muffin batter-wet.
When muffins are done baking, let them sit for 10 minutes or so, then use a plastic knife to gently run a plastic knife around each muffin to loosen them from the tin. 

Yield: 12 biscuits

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Mini Baked Hamwiches

I've been making these for years, we just call them hamwiches.  For some reason I love them, they're such cheerful little things.  The original recipe is from the King's Hawaiian website.  I've changed it a bit, including cutting back on the butter substantially.  
For the rolls, you can use a 12 pack of the stuck together King's Hawaiian rolls, or a store brand.  They just need to be the rectangular stuck together kind, click on the recipe link above to see what I mean.  I personally love the sweet Hawaiian rolls, but my husband prefers the kind that is not sweet.  I am a nice person, so usually use the not sweet variety.
Mini Baked Hamwiches
12 pack of stuck together rolls
1/2 lb shaved ham
1/2 lb sliced cheddar
4 T butter
1 1/2 t dried minced onion
1 1/2 t Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 T dijon mustard
Preheat oven to 350.  Slice slab of rolls in half so you have 2 big halves, like a giant hamburger bun.  Place the bottom half in a 9 by 13 baking dish.  Top evenly with ham and cheese, then the top roll half.  Melt butter in microwave.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Spoon evenly over rolls.  Bake until lightly browned. 15-20 minutes (mine took 20).  Cut through sandwiches to separate. 
Yield: 4-6 main dish servings

Friday, September 14, 2018

Raspberry Oatmeal Jammies/Copycat Franz Bakery Raspberry Oatmeal Cookies

The only packaged cookie I have ever liked other than Oreos or some of the Pepperidge Farm ones is these lightly cinnamon flavored, raspberry jam filled oatmeal cookies from Franz Bakery.  I would buy about a pack a year, so it wasn't exactly a common indulgence.  One day, it occurred to me to try to make them, I did a Google search, and ta da!  Oatmeal Jammies from the blog Bake or Break!  I made them immediately, with a few fiddly little changes to the ingredient list and preparation.

Boy, are these good!  Undoubtedly better than the packaged ones.  They are chewy around the edges but soft in the middle, are a little caramelized from the dark brown sugar, have way more raspberry jam than the packaged ones, and have that perfect little hint of cinnamon. They're best the day they're made because the chewiness dissipates and the jam may start getting a wee bit soggy, but they're tasty regardless a couple of days later.

I've only made these once, but can tell they for sure will be made many more times.  Next time I'm going to experiment with adding a teaspoon of baking powder just to see if they'll puff up a bit more, but really, they're pretty perfect as is!

Raspberry Oatmeal Jammies

1 C salted butter, softened
1 C dark brown sugar
2 Tbsp white sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 C flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
3 C old fashioned oats
about 1/2 C raspberry jam

Preheat oven to 350 and line baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside.

Cream together butter and sugars until fluffy, then beat in eggs and vanilla extract.  In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and cinnamon.  Mix into butter-sugar mixture in 3 additions.  Add oats and mix just until everything is completely combined.

Make walnut sized dough balls and place them 2 1/2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets- this dough spreads come.  Use your thumb to make an indentation in each dough ball.  Don't press too hard because you want a cookie layer thick enough under the jam that the jam won't seep through!  You can kind of shore up the dough around the indentation to keep the jam contained.

Spoon about a teaspoon of jam into each thumbprint.

Bake until cookies are golden around the edges, about 10-15 minutes, depending on your oven.  They are a bit fragile, so let them cool for 20 minutes or so before moving them to cooling racks.

Yield:  About 2 dozen cookies

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Baked Ziti

This is a really simple but delicious baked ziti recipe.  Believe me when I say I've tried a lot of ziti recipes over the years and they've all been varying degrees of tasty, but this is our favorite for sure.  I'm always looking for new recipes, but laid my baked ziti quest to rest after I first made this recipe four years ago!  It's a bit unique in that all of the cheese (except for some mozzarella sprinkled on top) gets mixed in with the pasta.  This both saves time with layering and makes sure each noodle is very cheesy!  The nutmeg also gives it a really nice, subtle, slightly unexpected flavor.  The sauce recipe itself is quite solid and is a good, basic sauce to serve over spaghetti.
Unfortunately, I cannot remember where the recipe came from originally, but I do know I've changed it substantially.
If you want to add a few minutes of prep time and make it more hearty, you can saute a pound of ground beef or turkey to start with, then add a finely diced onion and two cloves minced garlic to the browning meat in place of the onion and garlic powders, then continue making the sauce as written.  
Quick Note: You can use any large, tube shaped pasta.  For some reason it's really hard to find ziti around here!  I've also started using mostly whole wheat pasta and finding whole wheat ziti is impossible.  The recipe photo shows it made with whole grain penne.
Baked Ziti
1 tsp onion powder
3/4 tsp garlic powder
28 oz can whole fire roasted tomatoes, blended
6 oz tomato paste
1 1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 lb ziti pasta
cheese mixture:
1 lb ricotta cheese
3 C mozzarella, divided
1/2 C grated parmesan (optional)
1 egg
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp black pepper 
1/2 tsp salt
Put all sauce ingredients in a pan and bring to a simmer.  Reduce heat, cover with a splatter screen, and simmer about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
While sauce simmers, cook the ziti in salted water until just shy of al dente.  It will continue cooking in the oven and you don't want it to get too soft..  
While the pasta cooks, stir together ricotta, 1 1/2 C mozzarella, the egg, and seasonings.  Drain pasta and return to pot.  Stir in cheese mixture. 
Grease a 9 by 13 pan and spread half the pasta mixture in the pan.  Spread half the sauce on top.  Add remaining pasta, top with the rest of the sauce, then sprinkle the remaining cup of mozzarella on top. 
Bake ziti at 350 until bubbly and cheese is golden, about 45 minutes.
Yield:  8 servings