Week 2 of Cooking

Wednesday, March 4, 2009 4 comments
I got a "snow day" this week. Well, half a day - then I had to go work at the place where I no longer enjoy working. I hate going out in the snow - HATE IT! So, instead of helping with the shoveling - I stayed inside and made breakfast. It turned out pretty well. I made Cinnamon-Sugar Muffins and real hot chocolate (you know - not the stuff made from the packets). Here are the recipes from my breakfast:


Muffins from Better Homes & Gardens

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup cooking oil

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease twelve 2-1/2-inch muffin cups or line with paper bake cups; set aside. In a medium bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in center of flour mixture; set aside.
2. In another bowl combine egg, milk, and oil. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy).
3. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. If desired, sprinkle Streusel Topping over muffin batter in cups. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden and a wooden toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in muffin cups on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove from muffin cups; serve warm.
4. Makes 12 muffins
** This is the variation I used to make Cinnamon-Sugar Muffins: After you have made the recipe (and while the muffins are cooling), melt half a stick of butter in a shallow bowl (or, a plate would do just as well). Then, mix cinnamon with granulated sugar (I didn't use a real measurement with that - just "eyeball" it). Once the muffins are cool enough to touch, roll them around in the butter and then roll them in the sugar. **

I used 1 cup of All-Purpose Flour and 3/4 cup Whole Wheat Flour (don't ask me why, because they just end up smothered with butter and sugar). That was the perfect amount - if I had used all Whole Wheat Flour, they would have been way too heavy. Also, don't forget to put water in any unused muffin cups (you know, if there isn't enough batter to fill each "cup"). This will allow each muffin to bake evenly.

All-is-Calm Hot Chocolate
8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chunks or pieces
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon
anise seed, toasted* and crushed
1/2 teaspoon ground
Milk, half-and-half, or light cream
Whipped cream (optional)
1. For mix, in a large bowl combine chocolate chunks or pieces, sugar, cocoa powder, anise seed, and cinnamon. Spoon into a container, jar, or self-sealed plastic bag. Cover or seal. Include the following recipe directions:
2. To make 4 servings of hot chocolate, in a medium saucepan combine 2/3 cup cocoa mix and 1/4 cup water . Stir over medium heat until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Whisk in 4 cups milk; heat through, whisking occasionally. Pour into mugs. Top with whipped cream. Makes 12 servings total from the mix.
*Note: To toast anise seed, place anise in a shallow baking pan. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 5 minutes or until toasted and aromatic.

For "my dinner" this week, I made Baked Ziti, Garlicky Caesar Dressing, Crescent Rolls, and attempted Garlic-Thyme Focaccia bread (didn't turn out).


Baked Ziti
1 box ziti, cooked
1 lb. ground beef, browned
3 1/2 c. spaghetti sauce
2 c. ricotta or cottage cheese
2 c. mozarella cheese
1 egg
1 tsp. oregano
1/4 c. chopped parsley
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. parmesan cheese
* Combine cooked ziti, 1 1/2 c. sauce, and rest of ingredients. Pour 1/2 c. spaghetti sauce in bottom of 3 qt. casserole dish. Pour in ziti mixture.

I LOVE fresh parsley... yum!
Top with remaining sauce, and sprinkle with extra cheese.
* Bake at 375 degrees F for 30-35 minutes. Broil for 5 additional minutes - if you want the cheese to brown and crisp.

I made a HUGE amount of ziti, because I made it for Small Groups as well. If I had just been making it for my family, I would have used Whole Wheat Ziti. I did use half ricotta and half cottage cheese - a little healthier and a good bit cheaper.

Garlicky Caesar Dressing

4-5 cloves mashed fresh garlic1 tsp. good red wine vinegar
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp. lemon (preferrably fresh)

1 tsp. water

1/2 tsp. dry mustard

1-2 drops hot pepper sauce

* Mix or blend all ingredients together.

The dressing was good, but VERY garlicky - I know, it says it in the name of the recipe. However, this was almost too much. Even after I doubled it (adding less garlic and less vinegar) - it was still very strong. Next time I make it (and when I have more time), I'm going to work on tweaking it and trying change it.

The Garlic-Thyme Focaccia did NOT turn out at all. I've made it before and it was fine, so I didn't do anything wrong. The only thing I can figure was that the yeast was bad and/or it was kneaded too long. It was very flat and very chewy (yes, it was cooked plenty long). Oh well, I'll try again another time. Bread is fickle, apparently.

I had Shawn pick up a tube of Crescent Rolls. I was too frustrated and too low on time to make my own Cresent Rolls (again, another time). To make them a little more different and flavorful (even though, it's hard to mess with something that's good on its own), I melted butter and mixed that with some Parmesan-Herb Seasoning. They were delicious - they'll always be my fallback. This morning, I used the other tube of Crescent Rolls. I melted butter again and then sprinkled cinnamon and sugar over them to make them more breakfast-y.

Oh, before I "sign off" - I had a little snow day with Aidan yesterday. Meaning: I actually WENT. OUT. IN. THE. SNOW. Aren't you proud of me?!? I taught him how to make snow angels and the joy of throwing snow at things (and, um, people). His parents will thank me later - I'm sure. We also made snow cream! That was exciting - I haven't done that since I was a kid. Though, there is a chance that I introduced it to Shawn last year. I remembered loving that as a kid!

It's not too complicated - you just kind of add all of these ingredients to separate bowls (he made chocolate and I made cinnamon).
Fun, right?


  • Mrs. Zachary Canfield said...

    Alright... I must say that all of those recpies look Amazing!! I will be copying them and making the muffins especially very soon! Who knows? The next time you come see our house there might be muffins sitting on the table! I love you!

  • Wendy Bynion said...

    I just love reading your cooking adventures!! And pictures to go along with it!! I'm very impressed :) The hot chocolate sounds great and I must admit....never in my life have I made "real" hot chocolate. Swiss Miss is my specialty...pretty sad isn't it?! So, I better hurry up and try this before spring gets here. And making your own crescent rolls...wow...I have always considered the ones in the tube the only way to go. You are inspiring me!!

  • Short Stop said...


    These recipes look GREAT! Mmmm...those cinnamon muffins especially! Drooling over here...

    You are so far ahead of most soon-to-be-brides in your cooking skills. Good for you!

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