How many times do I hear myself say, "where is that big orange binder?" or "has anyone seen that big orange binder?" The big orange binder has been accumulating recipes, kinspiration & original recipe cards tucked into plastic sleeves for my entire-almost-forty year existence. "The Big Orange Binder" is an organization attempt. It's a recipe with a story neatly packaged in a place where I'll always be able to find the ever-elusive . . . Big Orange Binder.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Mel's Taco Soup


In the crock pot: 

Meat 
Taco Seasoning
Add kidney beans, or garbanzo beans or white navy or cans of black beans 
Chopped Tomato 
Cook 

Serve w/ crushed tortilla chips, corn muffins, cheese, sour cream . . . 

Mel's Panko Chicken

Chicken Tenderloins --
Dip in egg
Then Flour --
then fry the tenderloins in medium heat until brown completely and done inside; serve w/ brown rice & veggies

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Bread Machine Basic White Bread


I like to use the dough function --- 

This is the RECIPE I always LOSE!  Darn it, I spend half of the holiday looking for this recipe and the other half trying to remember to blog the damn thing. 

1 1/2 cups H20, @ room temp
3 tbsp of butter, @ room temp, cut into little cubes
1 tbps honey (I just put a big squirt in, cause I HATE washing a tbsp out that's had honey in it . . . I mean, really, what's the point??)
1 1/2 tsp salt
4 cups of bread flour
1/4/ cup of nonfat dry milk 
1 3/4 tsp yeast 

Dough cycle.  And a holiday story to go with it.  We have the Cuisinart Bread Machine.  It has bells and whistles the likes of which I will never use.  Still, they are there.  Over Christmas in 2012, I had a very well planned out holiday meal that I planned to complete and serve earlier in the day than usual.  2-3 pm is comfortable for me.  It means I don't have to get up early and shove my hands up the business end of a bird before the sun comes up.  11-12 is a pain in the fanny.  It means I have lots of pre-dawn kitchen business and I get halfway through the day and begin feeling hungover and exhausted. 

So, on this particular holiday, I tried out one of the whistles and bells on the Cuisinart Bread Machine and set it to the dough cycle so that we could wake up and the first rising would be complete.  Little did I know that when it begins on the delay timer, it makes a series of high pitched beeps.  It sounds exactly, exactly, exactly like the intruder alert on our security system.   So, at 4:20 am when the bread maker kicked on and fifteen alarms chirped in the middle of the night, out of bed shot hubby.  He staggered around and scratched and cursed, grabbed his gun and damn near shot the bread maker. 

And that, sports fans, is why I NEVER use the delay function on the bread machine. 

Bread Machine Basic Sweet Dough

In this order:

2 large eggs, @ room temperature
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp water, @ room temperature
1/4 cup sour cream, @ room temp
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temp, cut into small cubes
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 cups of bread flour
2 1/4 tsp yeast

Use dough cycle.  Can be used with any sweet dough recipe.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Royal Icing

For Gingerbread houses, or graham cracker houses @ Christmas time, as is one of our many, many holiday traditions.

3 egg whites,
a splash of warm water
about 4-4 1/2 cups of powdered sugar

Mix really, really well with electric mixer on low speed.  Might have to add more water or sugar to get the right consistency.  For kids' crafting purposes, the right consistency is:  thin enough to squeeze through a ziplock bag w/ the tip cut, for piping, but thick enough that it works like glue for candies onto the graham cracker houses.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Zucchini Brownies

Zucchini Brownies

2 cups grated zucchini
1 ½ cups white sugar
½ cup oil
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 ½ tsp soda
1/3 cup cocoa
2 tsp vanilla
½ cups nuts


350 degree oven x 1 hour for a loaf pan; adjust accordingly for muffins or small loaves

Scratch Chocolate Cake

Very Delicious Softasilk Scratch Cake –
Deluxe Devil’s Food Cake
Prep time:  45 minutes
Bake time: 30 minutes

2 cups sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp almond extract
2 large eggs
2 ½ cups Softasilk Flour
1 cup dutch processed cocoa powder or unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 ¼ cups buttermilk
Chocolate curls (optional)

Heat oven to 350.  Coak three 9 inch round cake pans generously with baking spray.  Beat sugar, butter, vanilla and almond extract in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs, one at a time.  Mix cake flour, cocoa powder, baking soda & salt in medium bowl.  Beat into creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk on medium speed.  Beat 1 minute longer.  Pour into prepared pans. 
Bake 26 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.  Cool 15 minutes; remove from pans.  Cool completely on a wire rack.




Buttercream frosting:
1 ¼ cups butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
8-9 tbsp milk, divided
7 ½ cups of powdered sugar

Beat butter, vanilla and almond extract in a medium bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until creamy.  Gradually add 6 tbsp milk and powdered sugar, scraping bowl as needed.  Beat on high speed adding additional milk by the tabelsppon until the frosting reaches desired spreading consistency. 
Place 1st cake layer, rounded side down on a serving plate.  Spread with frosting to within ¼ inch of edge.  Level off top of 2nd layer.  Top with second layer, topside down.  Spread with frosting.  Top with third layer, top side up.  Frost sides and top of cake.  Garnish with chocolate curls.  Allow to stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 12 to 16 servings.


High altitude, above 3500 feet.  Heat over to 375.  Decrease sugar in cake to 1 ¾ cups and baking soda to 1 ½ teaspoons.  Increase cake flour to 2 ¾ cups.

Crisco Pie Crust

CLASSIC PIE CRUST
(FOR DOUBLE CRUST, 9 INCH)

2 CUPS FLOUR
1 TSP SALT
¾ STILL WELL CHILLED CRISCO, CUT INTO SMALL PIECES
4 TO 8 TBSP ICE COLD WATER


BLEND FLOUR & SALT IN A MIXING BOWL.  CUT CUBED, CHILLED SHORTENING INTO FLOUR MIXTURE USING A PASTERY BLENDER UNTIL MIXTURE LOOKS LIKE COARSE CRUMBLES, ABOUT PEA SIZED.  SPRINKLE 4 TBSP ICE WATER OVER MIXTURE & MIX W/ FORK.  DIVIDE DOUGH INTO 2, FLATTEN INTO DISKS, WRAP IN PLASTIC & REFRIGERATE.  SHAPE INTO CRUSTS AS REQUIRED FOR RECIPE.

Cranberry Almond Biscotti

Cranberry Almond Biscotti
2 ¼ cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
2 eggs
2 egg whites
1 tbsp almond or vanilla extract
¾ cup sliced almonds
1 6 oz pkg craisins


Preheat oven to 325.  Combine dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.  Whisk together eggs, egg whites & almond or vanilla extract in a separate mixing bowl.  Add to dry ingredients, mixing until just moist, using an electric mixer on medium speed.  Add dried cranberries and almonds; mix thoroughly.  On a floured surface, divide batter in half and pat each half into a log approximately 14 inches long and 1 ½ inches wide.  Place on a cookie sheet & bake for 30 minutes or until firm.  Cool on a wire rack.  Reduce oven temperature to 300.  Cut biscotti into ½ inch slices.  Stand upright on a cookie sheet and bake for an additional 20 minutes.  Let cool and store in a loosely covered container.  Makes about 2 ½ dozen.

Chocolate Fondue

Makes 12 servings.
I have no idea where I got this recipe.
The card is very, very dirty so it's obviously very well loved.

1 package (8 ounces) unsweetened baking chocolate
1 cup skim milk
14 ½ teaspoons of Equal for recipes or 48 packets; or 2 cups of Equal spoonfuls
1 tsp vanilla or ½ to ¾ tsp rum extract

Stuff to dip:  fruit is what we like best

Cut squares of chocolate into pieces; heat chocolate and milk in medium saucepan over medium to low heat until the chocolate is mostly melted.  Stir CONSTANTLY.

Remove from heat; continue whisking until chocolate is completely melted and texture is smooth and shiny.  Add Equal. Add vanilla.  Whisk some more.

Pour into a fondue pot or serving pot.  Serve with fruit.

Baked Mini Doughnuts

Baked Mini Cake Doughnuts
From the back of the mini doughnut pan.  I bought the pan for the Next Gr8 Baker, aka Reesie Hagler, at the kitchen store at the Silverthorne outlets.  Spring break, 2011
1 ¼ cups cake flour, sifted
½ cup granulated sugar
1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
¾ tsp salt
½ cup buttermilk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 ½ tbsp butter, melted
Preheat oven to 425. Spray mini doughnut pan with nonstick cooking spray.  In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg & salt.  Add buttermilk, egg & butter.  Stir until well combined.  Fill each doughnut cup approximately ½ full.  Bake 4-6 minutes or until the top of the doughnuts spring back when touched.  Let cool in pan for 4-5 minutes before removing.  Finish the doughnuts with glaze or sprinkles.  Makes 24 mini doughnuts.
Variations:
Omit nutmeg – add ½ tsp grated lemon zest.  Mix and bake as instructed above.
Vanilla glaze:
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 tbsp milk
½ tsp vanilla extract

In small bowl, stir together sugar, milk & vanilla extract until sugar is completely dissolved.  Use immediately to glaze the baby doughnuts J