Morning Glory Muffins

More carroty goodness today,  in Morning Glory Muffins.  There are all sorts of additions you could make to these muffins, including pineapple and walnuts, but we like them like this:

 

Morning Glory Muffins

2 cups flour

1 cup sugar

2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp cinnamon

pinch of salt

2 cups peeled, grated carrots

3/4 cup raisins

1/2 cup shredded coconut

1 apple, peeled and grated

3 eggs

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup canola oil

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Blend together eggs, oil, buttermilk and vanilla in a separate bowl.  Add to dry ingredients, gently mixing just until moistened.  Divide batter into muffin tins, bake at 375 degrees F for about 20 minutes.  Makes 18 large muffins, using cupcake liners.

 

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Carrot Cake

Fall is a good time for carroty goodness in your cakes and muffins.  I wish it were still fall here in our neck of the woods.  It feels like we went right from late summer to winter.  Maybe all the more reason to turn the oven on and fill the house with delicious aromas.

Carrot Cake

2 cups flour

1 cup white sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp baking soda

pinch of salt

2 tsp cinnamon

1 cup shredded coconut

3 cups grated carrot

3 eggs

1/2 cup canola oil

1/3 – 1/2 cup milk

In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients.   In a separate smaller bowl, stir together eggs, oil and milk.    Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients, stirring (use a folding technique) just to combine.  Pour batter into greased and floured pans and bake at 350 degrees F  for about 30  minutes till golden brown.  This recipe will make  two 8″ layers, OR about 18 large cupcakes.

Split Pea and Ham Soup

My mom used to make split pea and ham soup once in a while when I was a kid, but this is the first time that I’ve attempted it.  My childhood memories of  this particular soup aren’t all that fond, so maybe that’s why I’ve waited so long to give it a whirl.  Mom was (and still is) a very great cook , so I can only think it was my immature taste buds that led to the “ewwww” factor.  Hubby, on the other hand, is quite delighted that I’ve taken the plunge.  He’s always been a fan.  So here’s my version of:

Split Pea and Ham Soup

Make the broth first:

In a large pot, cover your ham bone (hopefully it has some nice meaty bits still clinging to it) with cold water.  Roughly chop a large onion and several (3-5) stalks of celery, including the leafy stems.  Add to the pot.  Season with your favorite seasonings, I put in 3 bay leaves and some salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a slow simmer.  It will take at least 3 hours to make a rich stock.  Once the stock is to your satisfaction, remove from heat, and when it’s cooled a bit, fish out the ham bone and the meaty pieces.  Strain the broth until clear.  Discard the mushy veggies.  Cut meat into small pieces and reserve in the fridge.  Skim off undesired fat from the top of the broth.

Now the soup:

Return the clear stock to the stove with a couple of bay leaves and taste to adjust seasonings.   Pick over and rinse the split peas, then add to the stock.  Use 1 cup per about 3 cups broth (a guesstimate of the amount of broth is fine).  Over a medium simmer, let the peas cook until tender, about an hour.  At this point, if you prefer a smoother texture, use an immersion blender to puree the mixture, or you can even just mash a bit with a potato masher for a courser texture (which is what I did).

While the split peas are cooking, prepare the vegetables.  For about 6 cups broth, I used 3 carrots, 1 large onion, 3 ribs of celery and 3 cloves of garlic.  Dice and saute the veggies in a bit of oil or butter for about 4-5 minutes.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper if desired.  Add the sauteed vegetables to the stock along with the reserved meat.  Turn heat to low and let the soup simmer until vegetables are desired tenderness.

Beef and Veggie Soup

No sign of spring yet, it must be time to cook soup.

Vegetable Beef Soup

1 lb of extra lean ground beef

4 cups beef broth + 5 cups water

oil or butter for sauteing vegetables

Vegetables:

1 large onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

3 ribs of celery, thinly sliced

3 carrots, diced or grated

5 cups of chopped or shredded cabbage

Seasonings:

2  bay leaves

scant 1/4 tsp cloves or allspice

salt and pepper

Optional additions:

1/3 cup tomato paste

1 1/2 cups cooked rice or pasta

Prep veggies, peeling, chopping, shredding as necessary.  Meanwhile, in a large pot, combine beef broth, water and bay leaves and begin to warm over low  heat.  In a large frying pan over medium heat, add oil or butter and saute each of the vegetables in turn, sprinkling with a pinch of salt and a bit of pepper,  until softened, being careful not to brown them. The garlic may be added in with the onion.   As each vegetable is done, add it to the simmering broth.  Brown the ground beef with 1/2 tsp salt, pepper to taste, and cloves.  Drain well and add to broth.  Continue to simmer for another 10-15 minutes,  until  vegetables are desired tenderness.  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.  If desired, stir in tomato paste and rice.  Discard bay leaves before serving.  Makes about 8 servings.

Chicken supper in a hurry

This is a fast and easy supper.  It tastes good with dumplings, or couscous, or mashed potatoes.  If  I want to serve this to more than four people,  I do the initial steps of browning the chicken and sauteeing the vegetables, but then I put everything into a large casserole  and finish cooking it in the oven.

Chicken Skillet Supper

3-4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts,  each cut into 3 smaller pieces

1/4 cup flour

salt and pepper

butter or oil for browning chicken

1/2 onion, chopped

4 cloves of garlic, minced

2 cups sliced mushrooms

4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced or julienned

1 cup chicken stock

1/4 cup white wine (optional)

parsley or dill for garnish

In frying pan, heat  a dab of butter over medium heat.  Dredge chicken pieces in flour.  Brown chicken quickly, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.  Remove chicken to bowl, keeping warm.  Deglaze  frying pan with white wine, reserving liquid with the chicken.  Reheat pan, adding a small amount of butter to saute chopped onion, mushrooms and sliced carrots about 5 minutes.  Then add minced garlic and leftover flour from dredging, stirring to coat vegetables, cooking 1-2 minutes longer.  Add chicken stock into the pan, bring to a boil.  Return chicken and any liquid to the pan; reduce heat, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally until chicken is tender, about 20-30 minutes.  Sprinkle with garnish just before serving.  Makes about 4 servings.

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