Monday, February 26, 2018

How to Cook Ground Beef in the Slow Cooker

I just may be the last person on the planet to get this great bit of news, but in case I am not, I wanted to share it with y'all.  It's WONDERFUL!!!  I just learned you can cook plain old ground beef in bulk in the slow cooker!!!  IT WORKS!!!!!

I was reading about it on Balancing Beauty and Bedlam and thought "NO WAY does that really work.  NO WAY!!!"  So I had to try it out and see.

In the photo above, you can see where I plopped the 2 pounds of ground beef in the slow cooker (sprayed it first with cooking spray).  I sprinkled salt, pepper, dried onions, and garlic powder on top.  That's it.  Dumped the meat in, seasoned it, then I put the lid on. I cooked it on high for 2 1/2 hours and when I opened up the slow cooker, this is what I saw...

It was cooked and looked like one weird shaped hamburger patty.  LOL  So I got out my potato masher and broke up all the meat.  

IT WORKED!!!  It broke apart easily AND it was cooked through AND tasted really good with the seasonings!!!!!  See?  It just looks like cooked ground beef!!  YAY!!  So now I'm going to put it in freezer bags in one pound measurements and save for future meals!!  Taco soup?  Tacos?  Sloppy Joes?  A casserole?  Spaghetti sauce?  Pizza?  Tons more recipes this can be used for.  

HOORAY for a great idea!!!!

Monday, February 19, 2018

The BEST Snickerdoodle Cookies...

I LOVE cookies.  I love making them AND eating them.  These Snickerdoodles from Smitten Kitchen NEVER EVER disappoint. They come out perfect every time and always make me and everyone else that eats them very very  happy.

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons (2 stick or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon, plus more if needed
2 large eggs

In one bowl, stir together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, combine butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar. Using a mixer or hand mixer, beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add eggs, and beat to combine. Add dry ingredients, and beat to combine. At this point, I chilled the dough for an hour (or you can overnight) before scooping it, because I otherwise found it too difficult to scoop into balls and roll but the original recipe doesn’t find this step neccessary.
Once dough has chilled, in a small bowl, combine remaining 1/4 cup sugar and the ground cinnamon. Use a small ice-cream scoop* to form balls of the dough, and roll Bake at 400 degrees until the cookies are set in center and begin to crack (they will not brown), about 10 minutes, rotating the baking sheets after five minutes. Transfer the sheets to a wire rack to cool about five minutes before transferring the cookies to the rack. In theory, they can be stored in an airtight container up to one week, but I say good luck wtih that.

Happy baking!!!!!

Monday, February 12, 2018

The Only Pizza Dough Recipe You'll Ever Make Again...

Mr. U and I have been married for 19 years.  And over the course of these wonderful 19 years, I've probably made at least 12 different pizza dough recipes.  I have been searching for THE recipe- you know, the one that makes you want to make homemade more than you want to call up Domino's or Little Caesar's. 


I said last year I'd share the recipe after we made it several times and we were all positive it was "the one".  Well,  IT IS!!!!  So I'm finally sharing it,  It's so good and really easy- so easy that my 11 year old is now the official pizza crust maker.  

So STOP TALKING and get to the recipe, right??

"The One"... Pizza Dough

1 cup warm water
1 T sugar
1 1/2 tsp yeast
1 tsp salt
1 T olive oil
2 1/2 cups bread flour

Combine water, sugar, and yeast and gently stir.  Let it sit for a few minutes.  When the yeast "blooms" (see video below to see what blooming looks like) stir in oil and salt and gradually add in flour.  Knead until combined and smooth- 5-10 minutes.  Place in a lightly oiled bowl and let rise until doubled (about 45 minutes).  Punch down dough and roll into pizza.  Bake at 425 for 15 minutes. (But remember all ovens are different so pay attention that it doesn't burn!!)

This can also be made ahead and frozen!!!  Knead the dough and instead of letting it rise, place it in a zip loc freezer bag and close it tightly.  When you are going to use it, take out of the freezer and out of the bag and place in a lightly oiled bowl.  Let it thaw and then rise- anywhere between 4-6 hours based on how cool or warm your kitchen is.  When risen, roll out and bake as directed above. 

We've also made this in the morning when we knew we were going to be gone all day!!  When you put it in the lightly oiled bowl, cover loosely with plastic wrap and put in the fridge.  When you get home and ready to cook dinner, take it out and see how it's doubled!!  It's all ready to be rolled out into a pizza shape for dinner and baked like the recipe says!!  

Y'all,  it's SO SO SO good to finally have "the one" after all these years of my attempts!!

Monday, February 05, 2018

My Southern Sour Cream Poundcake...

There are a few recipes that seem to be just so Southern and pound cake is one of them. I've been holding back on sharing this recipe for a long while.  It is my FAVORITE pound cake recipe in the universe!!  Why have I been holding back?  Well, selfishness, I suppose.  It's just SO SO SO good.  Mr. U says he likes it best with a glass of sweet tea.  Me?  I just like it period!! 

See how the individual slice looks?  Look at the crust toward the bottom of the photo- now THAT is good crust!!!  Kind of doughy looking, but not doughy at all- just dense and full of flavor!!!

Here's what you need for this recipe.  Not a lot of ingredients and there's a really good chance you've already got all you need waiting for you in your kitchen.

Let's get baking!!!!

Sour Cream Pound Cake

2 sticks unsalted butter
3 cups sugar
6 eggs, separated
3 cups all purpose flour
8 ounces sour cream (NOT fat free)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 T vanilla

Heat oven to 315 degrees.  

Prepare a bundt pan by wiping it throughly all inside with butter or shortening and then dusting with flour and pour out any extra flour remaining in pan.  (You can use Pam and spray the pan, too, if you'd rather).  

In one bowl, sift flour and baking soda together and set aside.  In another bowl, cream butter and sugar well; add vanilla and then eggs- one yolk at a time.  Add 1/3 of the flour/baking soda mixture and mix well.  Then add 1/2 the sour cream and mix well.  Then add another 1/3 of the flour/baking soda mixture and mix well.  Then add the rest of the sour cream and mix well.  Finally add the rest of the flour/baking soda mixture and mix well.  In a third bowl, add salt to the egg whites and beat with mixer until fluffy.  Then gently fold egg whites into the batter.  Carefully pour into your prepared bundt pan and bake 1 hour and 15 minutes until done.  There should be no jiggle left and a toothpick inserted will come out clean.  Cool 5 minutes in pan and then turn onto a plate to cool completely.  

(Note about photo below: see this crust on top?  It's going to be on the bottom as soon as you turn this out onto a plate or platter.  At least that's the way my mom has always done and I'll do it the same way until the day I die.  Why?  Because if my mom does it that way, then it's the right way.  <smile>)

This is how pretty it looks after being turned out of the bundt pan. See how sweetly they are already kind of sectioned off?  Like it's just asking to be cut into smaller and larger pieces?  Yes, I prefer the larger pieces, but I bet you already knew that. :)


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