Strawberry Ricotta Waffles

On the last day of school, I found myself talking with a group of moms while we waiting for our munchinkins to be freed for the summer.  As it happened the topic of food and what to feed the kiddies over vacation came up.  I told the ladies that King Waffle reigned over our breakfast table.  Crowned with fruit, syrup, or even peanut butter; homemade waffles are a cinch to make and a kid pleaser!

Today’s offering for the tummy is also a great step in cutting store bought items out of your freezers.  We all know the leggo my eggo ad campaign and I say that you should leggo any eggo’s.  They’re just junk food served in the morning.      Making waffles at home is deliciously easy and leftovers freeze great for future mornings.  Cut your homemade frozen waffles in half and pop them into the toaster, now that’s a breakfast that’s fast and full of ingredients you can pronounce and colors that come from nature.

INGREDIENTS:

DRY:
½ cup unbleached flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons sugar (optional)
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt

WET:
2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup buttermilk

METHOD:

  1. Whisk all dry ingredient together in a small bowl
  2. In a medium bowl, beat eggs and add vanilla
  3. Slowly add the melted, room temperature butter to eggs
  4. Stir in buttermilk
  5. Add dry ingredients into wet ingredients. 
  6. Do not overmix, you just want to pull the batter together, it can still be clumpy.
  7. Spoon into hot waffle iron
  8. Accept morning applause  😉

My waffle recipe is a variation of Alton Brown’s.  I miss Good Eats!  I cut his measurement by half and get about 5-6 waffles per batch

Strawberry Ricotta Filling

There isn’t too much to this and I don’t really have measurements.  Usually I just combine sliced strawberries macerated in sugar with ricotta.  Let sit a few moments to gel together, then spread onto waffle halves. Simple yet tasty!


 
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Basic Vinaigrette

Use this simple dressing on salads, veggies, sandwiches, and even as a quick and easy marinade for proteins.  The accepted ratio of oil to vinegar is 3:1, feel free to substitute different types of oils (grapeseed, sunflower, peanut) and vinegars (red wine, balsamic) to achieve different flavor profiles. Be sure to check out the video below for a visual on making vinaigrette without a blender for those days when you don’t want to pull out the heavy equipment.

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/4 cup white-wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon celery salt
  • a pinch of sugar
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together vinegar, dijon mustard, salt, pepper, garlic, and beau monde seasoning.
  2. Slowly add the olive oil, whisking until emulsified.  Other methods include shaking ingredients in a jar or using a blender.

Time to Make the Buttermilk Doughnuts

I woke up this morning to dreams of summer and Paul Bunyan doughnuts.  Warm, dense, and delightfully spiced these buttermilk confections have been making mouths drool for decades in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.  The opportunity to enjoy a fresh made doughnut at the cook shanty may be months off, but my desire to attempt to recreate this classic was today.

Get out your cast iron skillet and throw healthy breakfast concerns out the window, today we make doughnuts!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3½ cups all-purpose flour
  •  ¾ cup granulated sugar
  •  ½ teaspoon baking soda
  •  2 teaspoons baking powder
  •  1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  •  ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  •  2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla
  •  ¾ cup buttermilk
  •  ¼ cup sour cream (next time I am using greek yogurt!)
  •  ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  •  Vegetable oil for frying

 

METHOD:

  1.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, buttermilk, and sour cream until combined. Add the melted, cooled butter and whisk again.
  3. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour the liquid ingredients into the well. Using your best kitchen tool, your hands, slowly fold the flour into the liquid center until the mixture forms a sticky dough. For better results, chill dough 20 minutes in the refrigerator before working with it.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a work surface lightly dusted with flour. Sprinkle the top of the dough with flour and pat it out until it is about ½-inch thick. Use two round cutters (3¼-inch and 1½-inch). Dip the large cutter in flour and press out the rounds. Dip the smaller cutter in the flour and cut out the center of each dough round. Arrange doughnuts and doughnut holes on the parchment-lined baking sheet, pat the dough scraps back together, and use them to make as many more doughnuts and doughnuts holes as possible. Chill the unformed dough while you heat the oil.
  5. Pour enough oil into a deep skillet to make a layer approximately 1 inch to 1½ inches deep. Slowly heat the oil over medium-high heat until it is 365 to 370 degrees F.
  6. Once the oil reaches temperature, lift the large doughnuts off the baking sheet with a fork or tongs and place them gently in the hot oil. Do not crowd the skillet – make no more than 3 doughnuts at a time. Once they have browned on one side (this takes 2 to 3 minutes), turn them over with fork or tongs and continue to cook for another minute or just until browned (the longer they rest in the pan, the more unwanted oil they will soak up).
  7. Using a fork, tongs or slotted spoon, transfer the doughnuts to the paper towel-lined baking sheet.  Continue to fry the rest of the dough until finished. The doughnut holes will cook faster (only about 1 minute on each side) and can be made in two or three batches after the doughnuts are done.
  8. Immediately after frying, quickly shake the doughnuts in a storage bag filled with cinnamon sugar mixture. If you like, you can also wait until donuts are cooled and glaze them with the flavors of your choice. Serve immediately.

    A simple glaze of Nutella warmed in the microwave for 45 seconds.

The Bird is the Word – Brined Grilled Chicken

Chicken dinners have been gracing tables for centuries, usually as a luxury or to mark special occasions. I’ve heard tales of proposals of marrige being made after a hearty roast chicken meal or grisly stories of eating an old feathered friend of the yard when their glory days had past.
Today, chicken is a everyday food enjoyed by the masses and we serve it in a multitude of styles. In short, we take it for granted and often deny the attention to details that a great bird deserves.  Let’s take the time and treat chicken like royalty today.  The results might just win you hearts and admirers!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 3-4 lb whole chicken
  • ½ gallon of water
  • ½ cup kosher salt
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp dried tarragon
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • ½ tsp crushed peppercorns
  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 head of garlic, sliced on the bottom to expose cloves
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar

METHOD:

  1. Combine all brine ingredients in a large pot.  Bring to simmer to dissolve salt and sugar.  Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.  (You could also use your crockpot for this step)
  2. Add chicken to brine in large pot (or removable crock), weighing down with a plate over it if necessary to keep submerged in liquid OR combine brine and chicken in a 2 gallon freezer bag and refridgerate. (A gallon bag may work depending on the size of your chicken)
  3. Brine chicken for at least 12 hours, but no longer than 48 hours.
  4. Preheat/Start the grill.
  5. Remove from brine and place chicken on a v-rack with a roasting pan under it.
  6. Add 2 cups of water and 2 cups of the brine mixture to the roasting pan.
  7. Cover pan tightly with foil, cook for roughly an hour at high heat.  Check occasionally, adding water if needed, rotating bird, or moving pan to adjust for hot spots on grill.
  8. Cook the last 15-20 minutes with foil removed in order to achieve a nice golden skin.
  9. Remove from grill and allow chicken to rest uncovered for 5 minutes.
  10. Carve and enjoy!

Other methods of cooking can be in a preheated 450° oven following the grilling instructions OR in the crockpot on high for 4-6 hours with NO liquid added, just the chicken.  Don’t let that chicken carcass go to waste either!  You can store it in a sealed bag in the freeze and use it to make Stock from Scratch!

Pizza Minus the Box

When I was diagnosed with a food allergy to tomatoes, I thought my life would never include pizza again.  It was a sad day in the jennirific world, but luckily it was a short lived break up.  Discovering a wide variety of ways to concoct alternative pizza creations impossible to eat from a box put Pizza Night right back in the weekly rotation! 

To get the Jennirific Pizza Party rolling, let’s start with the all important crust. This dough acts as a vehicle to the flavors of the toppings; great dough equals a great slice. If you are super cool and have a stand mixer, please utilize it and know the whole time that I am green with envy 😉 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Tbsp Dry Active Yeast
  • 1 Tsp Sugar
  • 1 Cup Warm Water
  • 3 Cup Flour
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 2 Tsp Olive Oil

 

Method

In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

Place the dough blade on your food processor. Add Flour and Salt and pulse a few times to aerate. Slowly add the yeast mixture to the flour with the food processor on and mixing. Allow each addition of the yeast mixture to be fully absorbed before adding more.

Continue processing until the dough forms a ball and cleans the sides of the bowl, about 1 minute, then process for 1 minute more.

Coat the inside of a large bowl with the olive oil and place the dough in the bowl. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 1⁄2 hours.
If you wish to freeze the dough, do not allow it to rise. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag. When you wish you use your frozen dough, allow to thaw by placing it in a oiled bowl covered with a towel.

Pizza Dough?  Check! Grab a cookie sheet, pizza pan, or any large flat pan you’ve got handy and gently stretch the dough until you achieve the thinness desired. Try not to go super thin, or cheese and toppings may not be able to fully melt before the crust is ready.
Now we’re ready to unleash creativity and make some delicious pizza not available on the menu at the local pizza joint or in the grocery store. Black and Bleu (steak, onion, bleu cheese), Vegetable Primavera, and Spinanch Nut with goat cheese; the combinations are endless.

I just adore grilled pizza, but if you are using an oven preheat it to at least 425°.  Cook crust about 5 mins, then remove from oven and spread toppings.  Cook 15 mins or until bubbly and golden.

Heat your grill to roughly 250°  Using a delicate hand, place your stretched dough on the grill surface.
Cook 1st side until firm rotating if necessary to ensure even cooking, maybe 5 minutes depending on your grill and temperature.
Remove dough and add sauce, toppings of choice, and cheese to grill marked side.
Return to grill and finish cooking until bottom is crisp and cheese is melted. Enjoy!

Firecracker Grilled Pizza
BBQ Chicken, Bacon, Pineapple, Carmelized Onions and Fresh Jalapeno

No fancy equipment, no worries.  check out painless pizza making at smitten kitchen and be happy 🙂

Can Free Condensed Soup

Hi, My name is Jennirific and I am a recovering Pinterest Addict. 🙂
Maybe some of you also suffer from countless hours lost to humor, crafts and of course recipes.  Though I love to spark creative ideas in the kitchen by seeing what’s cooking on stovetops across the web, I can’t help but shudder at the vast amounts of “family friendly” dinner ideas that revolve
cream of ______soup.

Stop paying your hard earned grocery dollars on a prettily packaged béchamel sauce. Let’s learn a classic technique and liberate the cupboard from canned soups! You can make a batch up ahead of time and freeze for when life gets hectic or make it fresh and enjoy in your favorite recipes.

The Trifecta of Tastiness!

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 tbsp Butter (real butter, accept no substitutes!)
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt and pepper
  • 1 cup liquid* see below for flavors

METHOD

  1. Melt butter in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat.

    How Roux Begins

  2. Add flour and salt and pepper, stirring with a whisk for a few minutes until you get a paste like texture.
  3. Reduce heat to low.
  4. Slowly, a few tablespoons at a time, add the liquid.  A dough like consistancy will emerge.

    Roux after 2 Tbsp of Liquid have been added

  5. Keep adding liquid until all is incorporated and you have a smooth product. 

1 serving equals 1 can of condensed soup.

Now celebrate your victory over cream of whatever soup and enjoy those pinterest recipes!

Straight from the Stovetop, Canless Condensed Soup

*Flavor Notes:

Cream of Chicken:  use 1/2 c Chicken Stock from Scratch and 1/2 c of milk

Cream of Celery: Saute ½ cup chopped celery and 1 tablespoon chopped onion in the melted butter, until vegetables are tender. Then add flour. Use 1 c milk for the liquid.

Cream of Mushroom:  Saute a 3 tbsp of chopped mushrooms with less than a tsp of minced onion(to taste) in butter until tender. Then add flour.  Use 1/2 c of milk and 1/2 c of mushroom stock. (mushrooms stock can be made by simmering mushroom stems and pieces in water OR rehydrating dried mushrooms in water or stock.) Or just use chicken stock.

Cream of Tomato: Use 1 c of Tomato Juice.  Season with celery salt, garlic powder, and onion powder. Add tobasco to taste if desired.

Pot of Gold Bouillion

Most home cooks are familiar and reliant on Bouillon Cubes.
They add just that certain salty something that families across America love.
Today, we break away from hard, processed cubes filled with chemicals I can’t pronounce and certainly don’t wish to eat. Crafting a simple reduction of Stock from Scratch yields a bouillon portion with savory punch of flavor that will make your dishes unique. This is the most valuable recipe you can have, truly worth its weight in gold!

INGREDIENTS

  • Stock from Scratch

    Chicken Stock that has been cooled and is ready to be made into bouillon

 

Method

  1. Using a large, deep pan add at least 10 cups of stock
  2. Bring liquid to a boil over medium heat.
  3. Reduce heat to medium low and continue to simmer stock for 2-3 hours, or until you have reduced it down to about 1/4 of your starting liquid.
  4. Ladle the bouillon into molds.
Whenever I have extra bouillon after filling my molds, I freeze it in a container that fits.

After freezing, pop your homemade bouillon out of the molds and store in the freezer for up to 6 months. (If they last that long!)
1 mini muffin sized portion of Pot of Gold is equal to 2 servings.

Crock Pot Style – Stock from Scratch

Believe it or not, we live in a super busy world!  Time to turn to technology in the kitchen to make stock while we attend to other things (work, kids, whatever.)

In my experience, the finished product made in the crockpot is more condensed than the stovetop version.  When using in recipes, use 1/2 cup of stock mixed with 1/2 cup of water to achieve the correct flavor profile.

This does work better when NOT using a whole chicken, due to space limitations, but again make the method work for you! 🙂

INGREDIENTS

  • 1       chicken carcass/bones from past meals* OR whole chicken**
  • 8       cups of water or as much as your crockpot will hold.
  • 1/2   large onion
  • 1/2   large carrot
  • 1/2   parsnip
  • 1       stalks of celery
  • 1/2   head of garlic
  • 1       bunch fresh parsley
  • 1       sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2      tbsp coarse salt
  • 8      peppercorns
  • 2      bay leaves
  • 2      Pot of Gold Bouillon portions.***

 

Method 

  1.   Place chicken into crockpot.  (at least 5 quart sized)
  2.   Cut onion, celery, carrot, and parsnip in half.  Add to pot.
  3.   Peel garlic and add whole cloves to pot
  4.   Fill crockpot with water.
  5.   Add the rest of the ingredients and cook on low heat.
  6.   Allow stock to cook 8-10 hours, stirring occasionally.****
  7.   Taste and re-season if necessary, adding more salt or pepper. 
  8.   Strain stock into a large bowl or pot, discard what you strain out.
  9.   Allow stock to cool before storing.

*To make beef stock, simply use beef bones in place of chicken. Ask your butcher or at the grocery store meat counter for “bones to make stock/soup.” Sometimes they even have them in the meat area of the store.

**If you are using a whole chicken, remove it from the broth before straining and let cool on plate. Shred it and enjoy in meals throughout the week! 

*** I will no longer substitute made at home bouillon for those hard little cubes of not food, however we all get pressed for time. Make the recipe work for you 🙂

 ****You can cook on high setting for 6 hours.

 

Stock from Scratch

One of the most valuable tricks in eliminating processed foods from recipes is to keep a supply of simple stock on hand.  Make up a batch when time permits, then you can freeze it in ice cube trays or different sized plastic containers for a quick go to on those busy nights.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1      chicken carcass/bones from past meals* or a whole chicken**
  • 16    cups of water
  • 1      large onion
  • 1      large carrot
  • 1      parsnip
  • 2      stalk of celery
  • 1      head of garlic
  • 1      bunch fresh parsley
  • 1-2   sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2      tbsp coarse salt
  • 8      peppercorns
  • 2      bay leaves
  • 2      Pot of Gold Bouillon***
    https://jennirific.wordpress.com/2012/04/06/pot-of-gold-bouillion/ 

 

Method

  1. Place chicken into a stock pot that is 8qts or larger.
  2. Cover with water, adding more to submerge chicken if needed.
  3. Cut onion, carrot, and parsnip in half.  Add to pot.
  4. Peel garlic and add whole cloves to pot
  5. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook on low heat, covered.
  6. Allow stock to cook 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally.
  7. Taste and re-season if necessary, adding more salt or pepper. 
  8. Strain stock into a large bowl or pot, discard what you strain out.
  9. Allow stock to cool before storing.

Volia!  You have successfully made stock and are now ready to learn how to make bouillon.

*To make beef stock, simply use beef bones in place of chicken.  Ask your butcher or at the grocery store meat counter for “bones to make stock/soup.”  Sometimes they even have them in the meat area of the store. 

**If you are using a whole chicken, remove it from the broth before straining and let cool on plate.  Shred it and enjoy in meals throughout the week!

***I will no longer substitute made at home bouillon for those hard little cubes of not food, however we all get pressed for time. Make the recipe work for you.  🙂