Pillsbury Savory Circles

img_0177.jpgThese delicious tasty little rounds and will go great alongside almost any pasta & sauce recipe, even with a cold macaroni salad. Perhaps a much needed change from the traditional garlic bread.

1 tube-type can (12 oz) refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
1/2 cup (1 stick) softened butter or margarine
1/4 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. onion powder

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Pop open the can of biscuits, separate them and place them on 2 ungreased baking sheets. Flatten the biscuits into circles about 4 inches – that’s why you’ll need 2 baking sheets. Let them rest about 5 minutes while you make the topping.

Combine the softened butter, and everything else. Spread about 1 tablespoon of this mixture over each circle, about 1/2 inch from the edge. Bake for about 15 minutes – or until golden brown. Serve.

Sausage Bread

This is definitely a weeknight bread because you use frozen pizza or bread dough, or if you’re feeling ambitious, by all means make your own dough from scratch. But with this recipe you don’t have to. I like to serve this with a homemade soup such as chicken noodle or creamy tomato.

1 lb. thawed pizza or bread dough
Flour for dusting surface and rolling pin
2 Tbsp. of your favorite Italian dressing
1 tsp. Italian Seasoning
1/4  tsp. seasoned salt
1 lb. loose, ground sausage, cooked and drained
1 lb. shredded mozzarella

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease or parchment paper a large baking sheet. Lighlty flour and roll out and prepare  your dough, spreading and rolling it into a large rectangle – do the best you can and let the dough rest for a few minutes if it’s giving you difficulty.

Spread the dressing all over the dough, sprinkle on the seasonings, spread the sausauge straight down the middle, horizontally then sprinkle on the grated cheese. Beginning with the longest side, slowly and carefully roll the dough into light a big cigar shape. Place on your prepared cookie sheet, then make 2-3 slits into it. Place in preheated oven and bake about 30-35 minutes until golden brown. Let rest about 5 minutes before serving.

Bread Souffle

Easy to make, better to eat. This is the perfect brunch.

1 loaf of Pepperidge Farm Brown Sugar or Cinnamon Swirl bread
10 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk or half-n-half or a combination of both
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
4 Tbs. butter, melted

Preaheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 pan. Cut up bread into small pieces (stack 3-4 pieces, slice 3-4 row horizontally, turn bread and repeat) scatter in the pan. Whisk the eggs, milk, vanilla and butter in a large bowl then pour over bread in pan. Press down with a the back of a large spoon to ensure all bread is covered. Let this sit about 10 minutes then bake in the oven, uncovered, about 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out lightly moistened. Let set for 10 minutes before serving. This is really good cold, too!

Pumpkin Bread

This recipes yields 2 loaves – 1 to keep (they freeze well) and 1 to give away. The aroma while these bake is intoxicating.

3 1/3 cups regular flour
2 1/2 cups white sugar
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 15 oz. can Libby’s solid-pack pumpkin
3/4 cup vegetable oil – (I use canola)
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2/3 cup water

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease 2 loaf pans. Take out the 4 eggs and let them sit on counter while oven preheats – give this about 30 minutes.

In a large bowl place all the dry ingredients – whisk/sift well.

In a medium sized bowl, add the eggs and beat lightly. Add the pumpkin, water, and oil and whisk/mix well. Stir this into the dry ingredients to the count of 20 (1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi, etc.) – you don’t want to over mix – this is my way of never over mixing quick breads. Even though there may be some unmixed flour, that’s okay, mixing anymore will make the loaves tough and dry.

Scrape out of bowl equally into both pans; place in oven for about 60-65 minutes, until a toothpick or knife comes out with moist crumbs. Place on racks for 10 minutes, invert onto racks to cool completely.

Bakery Doughnut Muffins

A cross between doughnuts and muffins without the frying.  You can really go over the top and sprinkle on a mixture of cinnamon, sugar & butter before baking, if you wish.

3/4 cups (12 Tbsp.) softened butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
3 cups flour

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, lightly grease a 12-cup muffin tin, inside the tins and all around the top.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar for 3 full minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and blend 1 more minute. Add all the rest of the ingredients then stir with a wooden spoon to the count of 20 (1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi, etc.) you don’t want to over mix.  Remember, while mixing, stir up the batter from the bottom of the bowl and keep mixing in well.

Place dough in the 12 muffin cups and fill each one – you will use all the batter. (if you are going to use a streusel topping the melt 4 oz. butter, mix in 1 cup sugar and 1 Tbsp. cinnamon – mix well and sprinkle over the top of each muffin before you place in the oven) Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a knife inserted into a middle muffin comes out clean.

Pop out onto a cooling rack and serve.

Marble Loaf

This is a simple, tasty snack which can be jazzed up by adding some ice cream on the side.  I like it with a cup of hot tea or strong coffee. My sister sifts confectioners sugar and cocoa powder over her slice.

Make the chocolate syrup first:
2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil (NOT olive oil)

Now make the batter:
1-1/3 cups sugar
3/4 cup (12 Tbsp.) softened, unsalted butter
2 large eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Pinch of kosher salt
2 tsp. baking powder
2 cups flour
1/2 cup milk

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a loaf pan. Take out all the ingredients and set on the counter to come to room temperature for about 20-30 minutes while your oven preheats.

Into a medium sized bowl, whisk together the syrup ingredients and set aside.

Into a large bowl, using a blender or you can even use a food processor, cream the sugar and butter for about 1 minute, add the eggs and vanilla, then add the dry ingredients and blend for about 1 minutes. Add the milk and blend well. Scoop out 1 cup of this batter and whisk into the chocolate batter, then spread the rest of this yellow batter into the loaf pan. Now plop the chocolate batter on top. Using a butter knife inserted into the batter, swirl the knife around.

Place in the oven for 30 minutes; reduce temp to 325 and bake 30-40 minutes more, or until a knife inserted near the middle comes out with a few crumbs – keep an eye on it. Cool for 10 minutes, then loosen the edges and unmold it onto a plate.

Sweet Potato Cakes (Biscuits)

This is an easy to work with dough and it makes tasty biscuits!

2 cups all purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp. sugar
1-1/2 tsp. kosher salt
2-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup mashed sweet potatoes (canned is fine)
1/2 cup vegetable (canola) oil
1/2 cup milk

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Take out a baking sheet and set aside.

Meanwhile, sift all the dry ingredients together, set aside. With a fork, mix the sweet potatoes, oil and milk together, then mix into the dry ingredients with the fork only until the mixture holds together.  Turn the dough out onto a light floured surface and with lightly floured hands, knead the dough just about 10 times – just until it is smooth. Roll or pat to 1/4″ thick and cut out biscuit rounds, or whatever shape you wish. Place on the baking sheet and bake for about 20-22 minutes.

My Irish Soda Bread

Everybody’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. Whether that’s true or not, I’ll bet eating this great round loaf is a good start.  It’s a simple, purist’s loaf – the way I like it; no fanfare, just enjoy with hot tea.

4 cups all purpose flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. baking soda
4 Tbsp. butter (do not use margarine)
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 cups buttermilk

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Sift the flour, sugar, salt and baking soda together in a large bowl. Using the tips of your fingers work the butter into the mixture until it looks like coarse meal.

Make a well in the center and add the beaten egg and buttermilk into this well; mix it in with a wooden spoon until the dough is too stiff to stir anymore. Dust your hands with a bit of flour then gently knead the dough right in the bowl just long enough for it to form a rough ball. Transfer it to a surface that you’ve lightly floured and shape it into a round loaf.

Transfer loaf to a large lightly greased baking sheet or even a cast iron skillet is good – grease that too. Make an X shape about 1/2″ deep with a serrated knife on top of the dough. Place into the oven and bake until it’s golden brown – about 45 minutes. Let it cool briefly and serve warm or room temp. This recipe makes fantastic leftovers!

Jack & Herb Biscuits

Monterey Jack cheese and herbs blend together to form these flaky, delicious, savory biscuits. Enjoy these with a dinner, or make your own breakfast sandwich out of them.

4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. dried basil (or McCormick’s makes an excellent basil & garlic blend)
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried rosemary
4 tsp. balking powder
1 tsp. salt (kosher salt is best)
1 stick (1/2 cup) cubed, unsalted butter (NOT margarine)
4 oz. cubed, Monterey Jack Cheese
1 1/2 cups cold milk or half-n-half

Topping to brush on:  1 Tbsp. cold water + 1 egg whisked together

Preheat your oven to 475 degrees and get out a sheet pan – set aside.

In a large bowl whisk/stir together the flour, spices, powder & salt. With either a pastry cutter, 2 knives, or your fingers, cut in the butter and cheese until it looks something like uncooked oatmeal. Add the cold milk or half-n-half and mix this gently with a wooden spoon just to get everything moistened.

Flour a work surface and dump out the contents of the bowl and very, very gently knead this only 5-6 times; flatten gently to about 1/2″ thick – it’s not going to be a perfect round or anything like that – dont’ worry. Cut our rounds (you’ll get about about 12) and place on the ungreased baking sheet and brush on the topping.

Place in the oven for 9 minutes; turn oven off and leave biscuits in for 15 more minutes, or  until golden brown.

Cranberry Orange Bread

Quick to make and there is finally a reason to buy those bags of cranberries in the produce section! I wowed myself and family when this recipe creation came out of the oven – it truly is a “best” recipe. Enjoy this with strong tea or coffee. Makes 2 loaves. Mmmmm.

4 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 cups orange juice (try for fresh, do what you can)
2 large or extra large eggs, lightly beaten
4 Tbsp. (1/2 a stick) unsalted, melted butter
2 cups whole cranberries (if frozen, don’t even bother thawing – just toss in)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and take out two loaf pans that are 9 x 5 x 3 and lightly grease them then set aside.

In a large bowl whisk or mix to combine all the ingredients up to the juice. In a separate large bowl whisk or mix together the juice, eggs & butter. Add the wet to the dry and mix with a spoon to the count of 20 (as in 1-Mississippi, 2-Mississippi, etc.) then add the whole cranberries. With a spatula, fold/mix batter for only about 4 strokes. All this may sound strange, but if you mix too hard or too long a quick bread becomes tough.

Evenly distribute into each pan, sprinkle some sugar on top of each loaf then place in the oven for 1 hour or until a knife comes out clean – should only really take about 60 minutes. Set out on a cooling rack for 10 minutes, invert onto cooling rack then cool completely before diggin in!