Tag Archives: recipe

Baked Oatmeal Casserole

oatmeal casseroleOatmeal Casserole that your kids will not only eat, but they will ask for seconds.

My grandma has a saying about oatmeal and I never make oatmeal without thinking it.  “Oatmeal sticks to your ribs.”  My grandma is probably the wisest woman God ever created so I am positive that this statement is 100% true.  I started feeding my kids oatmeal when they were itty-bitty and I’ve never stopped.  I vary the way I make it so they don’t burn out on any one way, but I have learned two important facts concerning my kids and oatmeal:  1.  If there’s fruit in it, they will eat it every time.  2.  If there’s chocolate involved, they will ask for seconds.  (Mind-blowing, right?  It’s like I’m a child whisperer.)

This casserole is so versatile and can easily be modified to fit the tastes of your family. It can also easily be made gluten-free just by  using gluten-free rolled oats.  It does take 30-35 minutes to bake, but I love a breakfast that I can put in the oven and let it cook while we are getting ready in the mornings.  You can even mix it up the night before and refrigerate it until your are ready to bake it in the morning.  It even heats up well (in case you don’t have 4 starving kids at your breakfast table like I usually do!).

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup walnut pieces (optional, of course), divided
  • 1 cup berries of your choice, fresh or frozen, divided
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips, divided
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 Tbs butter, melted
  • 1 Tbs vanilla extract
  • 1 ripe banana, peeled and sliced

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375.  Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray or oil.

  1. Mix together the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Adding only 1/2 of the walnut pieces, berries and chocolate chips.  (Save the other half to add to the top in step 3.)
  2. In a separate, large bowl, whisk the wet ingredients together.
  3. Pour the dry oat mixture into your 9×13 prepared baking dish.  Sprinkle the top with the remaining half of the nuts, berries and chocolate chips and arrange the banana slices on top.
  4. Pour the milk mixture over the top and gently shake the baking dish to help the liquid settle through to the bottom of your pan.
  5. Bake 30-35 minutes or until the mixture is set and the top is nicely browned.  If you’re not on sugar police duty, you can sprinkle some extra brown sugar on top, but with the fruit, chocolate and sugar already in it, it isn’t really necessary.

 

 

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal in the Crock Pot

Have the butler fetch you the morning paper and a hot cup of coffee.  Breakfast is waiting for you.  No butler?  With this apple cinnamon oatmeal cooking in your crock pot, you won’t notice he’s missing. (Of course, you’ll have to make your own coffee.)

Let me set the scene for you:  It’s early morning.  You wake to the sound of birds chirping outside your window and the smell of hot, fresh, apple pie.  You have a smile on your face before you even open your eyes.  It’s going to be a good day.  Ahhhhh.

apple cinnamon oatmealThis is apple cinnamon oatmeal is so simple and so good.  I just made it.  Seriously.  I literally just went into my kitchen and emerged 5 minutes later knowing that breakfast will be ready when the kids wake up in the morning.  It’s oatmeal that tastes suspiciously like apple pie.  It’s pure genius.  Break out your crock pots, it’s breakfast making time.

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 apples
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats (or steel-cut, if you’re fancy like that)
  • 4 cups water

*optional add-in’s: raisins, walnuts, vanilla protein powder

Directions:

  1. Core and cut the apples into bite-sized chunks and put into the bottom of your crock pot.
  2. Top with brown sugar and cinnamon, distributing evenly on top of the apples.
  3. Add the oats.
  4. Pour in the water.  Do NOT stir.
  5. Cook on low overnight.

 

 

One Pan Ziti

017

This is an incredibly tasty pasta dish that makes clean-up a breeze because it’s all cooked in one pan.   It’s easy, it’s quick, it’s kid friendly and it’s delicious!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb Italian sausage
  • 4 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (adjust according to personal taste of course, but even my little guys loved this)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 12 oz Ziti pasta
  • 3 cups water
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves finely chopped (optional)

To Make:

  • Brown sausage in a large skillet. (I used my Rachel Ray 3-quart, covered sauté  pan and it was exactly the right size!)  Add the minced garlic, red pepper flakes and cook, for an additional 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently.  Salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Add in the tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes.  Stir in the uncooked Ziti pasta along with the water.  Bring to a boil; cover and reduce heat to low and simmer until the pasta is cooked through, approximately 12- 15 minutes.
  • Remove from heat.  Stir in the Parmesan and heavy cream.  Sprinkle with Pile on the mozzarella.  I zapped mine under the broiler for just a few minutes until the cheese was brown and bubbly, but if you don’t want to mess with the broiler, you can just stick the lid back on the pan for a few minutes.
  • Garnish with basil, if desired.

011

 

You can serve this with a green salad on the side or some delicious crusty Italian bread.  Even alone, it’s sure to be a success!

Buon appetite!”

 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake from Williams-Sonoma

024

I needed a cake for our annual church cake raffle.  I knew that not just any old cake would do.  I committed myself to the mission of seeking out and baking the most decadent, chocolaty, melt-in-your-mouth, sinfully blissful cake that ever existed.  Enter the Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake from Williams- Sonoma.  The result?  Well, I don’t want to brag, but I know call this my $100 cake.  Cha-ching!

032This cake is not for the faint of heart. Ohh the chocolate!  It requires a certain amount of dedication.  It requires a large colossal bundt cake pan (15 cups!)  *I don’t actually own a bundt pan that size, so I used the largest one I had a made a few cupcakes with the left over batter.  We’ll talk about those cupcakes later. 

 

For the cake:

  • 1 cup cocoa powder, sifted, plus more for dusting pan
  • 7 1/2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 20 Tbsp. (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 5 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

 

For the ganache:

  • 6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

 Directions:

036Start with all of your ingredients at room temperature. Don’t skip this step, it really does matter.  Nerd alert!  Want some science to back that up?  Cold ingredients like eggs, butter and milk don’t completely incorporate together the way that room temperature ingredients do.  You need your ingredients to fully incorporate and bond together to form an emulsion…because that’s how air gets trapped making your baked goods light and airy instead of dense and clumpy.  Nobody likes dense and clumpy.  Set those ingredients out 30 minutes to 1 hour ahead of time and make yourself a cup of coffee.  Patience is a virtue, so is light and airy chocolate cake.

Pre-heat an oven to 325 degrees F. Grease your bundt cake pan and dust with cocoa powder; tap out the excess.

To make the cake:

Over a sheet of waxed paper, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt, repeating until well blended.  Set aside.

In a bowl, combine the 1 cup of cocoa powder and the finely chopped chocolate.  Carefully pour in the boiling water and whisk until the chocolates combine into a smooth, velvety river of chocolate heaven.

Using an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the butter for a good 30 to 45 seconds.  Reduce the speed to low and add the brown sugar, beating until well blended.  Now it’s time to add air because air = light and fluffy cake!  Beat at a medium speed for about 5 minutes, occasionally stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Add eggs, one at a time until blended.  You want everything to really have a change to incorporate before adding more, so beat and scrape and beat and add and beat some more.  Add the vanilla extract and beat for 1 more minute.

Time to fold in the dry flour mixture that’s been patiently waiting on your waxed paper.  To prevent a heavy, dense cake, you will reduce your mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture 1/3 at a time and alternating with the addition of the sour cream.  This sounds more complicated than it actually is.  It looks like this, or something similar.  Add 1/3 flour, beat just until blended, add 1/2 sour cream, beat just until blended, add 1/3 flour, beat just until blended, add the rest of the sour cream, beat just until blended, add the last of the flour mixture and beat just until blended.  Scrape sides of bowl as needed.

Pour in the chocolate-cocoa mixture and beat until full incorporated, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.  Fold in the chocolate chips by hand using a rubber spatula.

That sounds eerily like a step-aerobic sequence…add, beat, add, beat, scrape, add, beat…and then reward yourself with chocolate.

Your batter is ready!  Grab your greased and cocoa-ed  bundt cake pan and start pouring.  Using your rubber spatula, spread your batter until the sides are about 1 inch higher than the center of the cake.  Do not overfill your cake pan.  If you have left over batter, I suggest making cupcakes. Ohhh, the delicious cupcakes.   

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean, about 1 hour. Transfer to a wire rack and let the cake cool upright in the pan for 10- 15 minutes.  Invert the pan onto a cooling rack and lift off the pan.  Let the cake cool completely for at least 1 hour.

To make the ganache:

Combine the chocolate and butter in a medium size glass (or other heat proof) bowl.  Set aside but keep handy- you’ll be adding hot cream in just a minute!  In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the cream just to a boil, being careful to not scorch it. Pour the hot cream into the chocolate and butter and whisk until melted.

Slide a waxed paper lined baking sheet under your wire cooling rack (to catch the drips).  Pour the warm glaze over the top of the cake, watching with pride as it drips down the sides and middle of the cake.  Let the cake cool to room temperature, about 15 minutes and swear vengeance on anybody who sticks their finger in the ganache to taste it.

*That’s where the cupcakes come back into play!  They are small, they cool faster, they are single servings, they are your golden ticket to tasting the heaven on Earth you’ve just created without having to cut into the masterpiece that is now cooling on the wire rack.  Do it.  You’ve earned it.

Option: You could be a real show-off and coat with more chocolate chips or chocolate sprinkles or you could wait until it’s cool and dust with powdered sugar.

Serves 16