(L)Oven Monday – Easter Dinner 2017 Recap

Easter dinner 2017 a

If you’ve been reading my blog more than a week, you know how I treasure Sunday dinner.  It makes my heart sooo happy! But how does Sunday dinner get even better?  It’s when Sunday dinner is Easter Sunday dinner.  On top of good food, there’s the blessing of remembering Christ’s resurrection from the dead and celebrating that truth that He lives!

So, yesterday, we did indeed have a big Sunday meal, but we started with a wonderful church service where Christ was exalted! We sang of His resurrection and heard God’s truth about how to be sure you can have eternal life!  Then we came home for dinner and included our daughter and son-in-law and a couple of other special people.  We also incorporated a few family traditions, which brings memories and makes memories.  It was a great day!

Here’s the menu:

 Brown Sugar Glazed Ham
Ruth’s Chris’ Sweet Potato Casserole
Tarragon Asparagus – New recipe
Deviled Eggs
Caesar Salad in Parmesan Bowls
Bunny-Shaped Breadsticks – New recipe
Coconut Cake with Lemon Filling

Let me roll the pictures so you can have a peek into our day and see that I also incorporated all the principles I’ve recently shared about Sunday dinner!

I worked early in the week and got the Coconut Cake baked and layers put in the freezer.  Then at the end of the week, I made the lemon curd and the icing.  It simplifies the process so much!  By Saturday night here’s what was already prepped:

The cake, the rolls, the Sweet potato Casserole, Deviled eggs, and the salad ingredients were totally ready. The table was all set, too.  I also had the roasting pan for the ham set out and ready to bake the main entree.

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When I got home from church it only required to put the finishing touches on everything and bake the casserole.

Here’s how things turned out on Sunday~

Caesar Salad in Parmesan Cups –

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Sweet Potato Casserole – The best in my book!

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Terragon Asparagus – This was new, and it was pretty good.  My asparagus wasn’t as fresh as I’ve ever gotten, so I’m going to try this again before giving it a final verdict!

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Bunny Breadsticks – Another new recipe.  These were fantastic on Saturday when I made them, but they don’t really do well the next day.  Sooo, I won’t make these for Sunday any more, but I sure will use this recipe for other days when I have time to make them for that day.  They were delicious right out of the oven!!  And how cute are they???? They can be baked into regular bread sticks if you want to make them other times of the year!

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Coconut Cake

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One tradition that we’ve had for years is Easter sunrise service outside at home.  That was a challenge (and very cold) when we lived in Indiana, but we would don our coats and head to the tree house where we would have our own Sunrise service!  Then we would come inside and have Cinnamon rolls and scrambled eggs.  Now that it’s just my husband and me, we simply eat breakfast on the patio and read Scripture together.  It’s usually warm enough that we don’t shiver, thank the Lord!  Here’s what we had yesterday:

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We had Fresh farm eggs, Prosciutto, Cream Cheese Coffee Cake, Fresh fruit and Coffee.
It was a great way to start Easter Sunday!  This is a reminder that traditions aren’t just for when your kids are at home.  Keep those traditions going even when they’re gone.  It will continue to build strong home ties, and will also give your grown kids the security of knowing that you’re still making the most of your marriage!

So, another Easter dinner is in the (memory) books, and I’ll have to say, it’s a memorable chapter!  I thank the Lord for the blessing of celebrating our Savior’s life and getting to do it at church AND at home around the Sunday dinner table.

Did you have Easter dinner?  Did you cook?  What made it special for your family?

With love from my country kitchen,

Denise Signature 150 px

(L)Oven Monday – Super-Fast Drop Sugar Cookies

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Not all sugar cookies are created equal.  Many recipes call for an hour of refrigeration before you can roll out the dough.  But what if you need a dessert in a hurry and decide that sugar cookies would be the perfect ending for your  meal for guests that’s just 45 minutes away?!

That’s exactly the predicament I was in a week ago!  I decided last minute to add cookies to the menu.  So what did I do? I made Drop Sugar Cookies!  This soft dough is whipped up in the mixer, then spooned onto baking sheets for a quick bake.  These make a delicious dessert!  Because I was in a real hurry, I only baked up one sheet (a dozen), which was all I needed, then after my guests left, I baked the remaining dough and froze the extras.  Yay for cookies in the freezer!!  This recipe was found on Pinterest and is a family recipe from The Mom Who.

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Drop Sugar Cookies
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • ¾ cup Milk
  • ¾ tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • ½ cup Crisco
  • 1 Egg
  • 2½ cups Flour
  • 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • Sugar Sprinkles
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl mix the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda and baking powder.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, mix the sugar and Crisco.
  5. Then add the egg to your mixture.
  6. Next add the milk and vanilla extract to your wet mixture.
  7. Gradually add the dry mixture to the wet mixture that’s in the large bowl. Mix until incorporated. Don’t over mix!
  8. Scoop dough into 2 tablespoon sized scoops and drop them on your sheet.
  9. Bake for 6- 7 minutes and then carefully add sprinkles to the tops of the cookies. Continue baking for 2-3 minutes.
  10. Remove from oven and let sit on cookie sheet for 5 minutes before moving to a cooling rack.
  11. Enjoy!
  12. *Note- You can add the sprinkles to the cookies before baking, but the sprinkles sink down into the cookies. You decide on when to place the sprinkles- Before, During, or After baking.

Is there a recipe you pull up if you need a fast dessert?  I’d love to hear what it is!

Happy Baking!

Denise Signature 150 px

Angel Food Cake Video Tutorial

I LOVE watching the British Bake-Off on Netflix!  Recently the technical challenge was…Angel Food Cake!  I smiled as I watched some of them grease their pans, wonder how stiff to beat the egg whites, and what to do with the dry ingredients.  I only knew because I’d recently made one!  But it’s really not difficult at all!

I’d love to show you my technique!  So here’s a speedy video of making an angel food cake.  You can pause the video at any time if you need to see something a little more closely!  I hope this helps and encourages you to make an Angel Food really soon!

I don’t know what Paul or Mary would think of my finished product, but we enjoyed it!!

Happy baking!

Denise Signature 150 px

(L)Oven Monday – A Healthy, Yummy Dessert

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Cooking Light has great recipes for Angel Food Cakes.  These cakes have no fat, making them a healthier dessert than most.  The nice thing about baking your own Angel Food cake is:

  1. They taste better
  2. You can add flavorings
  3. They cost pennies
  4. You can make it ahead of time and freeze it

This recipe  – Cafe’ au Lait Angel food has a coffee flavor and we love that!  Cafe’ au Lait means coffee with milk.  This recipe also has a custard-like sauce to serve with it,which gives the coffee flavor it’s “milk addition.  It takes regular old Angel Food to the next level, and certainly makes it company worthy!  Here’s the recipe:

Cafe’ au Lait Angel Food Cake

Ingredients

  • Cake:
  • 1 cup sifted cake flour – Don’t have any?  Try this – Take one level cup of AP flour, remove two tablespoons, and then add two tablespoons of cornstarch back in. Be sure to sift the flour to distribute the cornstarch well before using it in your cake batter.
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons instant espresso granules or 2 tablespoons instant coffee granules
  • 2 tablespoons hot water
  • 12 large egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Sauce:
  • 3 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups 2% reduced-fat milk, divided
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 3 tablespoons Frangelico (hazelnut-flavored liqueur) –  I didn’t use this or substitute
  • Remaining ingredient:
  • 1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts, toasted
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.

  2. To prepare cake, lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, 3/4 cup sugar, and cinnamon, stirring with a whisk, and set aside. Combine espresso and hot water, stirring until espresso dissolves; set aside.

  3. Place egg whites in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar and 1/4 teaspoon salt; beat until soft peaks form. Add 3/4 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating until stiff peaks form.

  4. Beat in espresso mixture and vanilla extract. Sift 1/4 cup flour mixture over egg white mixture; fold in. Repeat procedure with remaining flour mixture, 1/4 cup at a time.

  5. Spoon batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan, spreading evenly. Break air pockets by cutting through batter with a knife. Bake at 350° for 50 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Invert pan; cool completely. Loosen cake from sides of pan using a narrow metal spatula. Invert cake onto plate.

    I had to work just  a little to loosen my cake from the pan, but it did come out whole after a few little “tugs” with my metal spatula.

    I saw that eggs are on sale at Kroger this week for .79, so it’s a good time to make one of these cakes!  I’m going to attempt to upload a video  this Wednesday of how to make this cake.  You can see just how simple it really is!  It’s really fun to venture out a little a make something a little challenging.  I hope you’ll give this a try!  Plus it’s just fun to say – Cafe’ au Lait!

    Happy baking!

    With love from my country kitchen,

    Denise Signature 150 px

    Easy Entertaining Menu

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    Entertaining at any season can be overwhelming, but especially so at Christmas, right?  I came up with an entertaining menu that can be made completely ahead of time and simply warmed up when ready to serve.  This is a Mexican Food feast that is delicious and stress-free!  Talk about simplifying things – this will do just that when you invite folks over!

    Spiced Pork Tenderloin with Avocado Salsa

    Spanish Rice

    Refried Beans

    Coffee Pie

    spiced-pork

    Spiced Pork Tenderloin Tacos

    • 1 pork tenderloin (about 4 pounds)
    • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
    • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
    • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive

    Preheat the oven to 375°. Set the tenderloin on a large rimmed baking sheet. In a small bowl, mix the smoked paprika with the cumin, garlic powder, oregano and cinnamon. Rub the pork with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the spice mixture all over the pork. Roast the tenderloin until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the centers registers 145°. Transfer the tenderloins to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes. Using two forks, shred the tenderloin for tacos.

    Salsa Ingredients

    • 1/2 small red onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
    • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
    • 1 medium tomato, cut into 1/2-inch dice
    • 1 Hass avocado, cut into 1/2-inch dice
    • 1 teaspoon minced chipotle in adobo
    • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
    • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • Kosher salt
    • Freshly ground pepper
    • Warm tortillas, for serving

    For Salsa:

    In a medium bowl, mix the onion with the red wine vinegar and let stand for 10 minutes. Add the tomato, avocado, chipotle, oregano and olive oil, season with salt and pepper and toss gently. Fill warm tortillas with the sliced pork, top with the salsa and serve.

    spanishrice

    The Spanish Rice is every bit as easy as a boxed brand but even tastier!  You may already have every ingredient in your pantry for this recipe!

    Spanish Rice

    Directions:

    1. Heat oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Stir in onion, and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
    2. Mix rice into skillet, stirring often. When rice begins to brown, stir in chicken broth and salsa. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes, until liquid has been absorbed.

    refried-beans

    Refried beans are not the most beautiful dish to photograph, but when they’re made from scratch, they are a beautiful thing! This recipe is so delicious.  Here’s how I made mine using the crock pot to simplify the recipe:

    Refried Beans
    (I halved the recipe and it made plenty for 6-8)

    6 cups dried pinto beans
    4 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1-inch slices (or you can use salt pork, ham hock or diced ham instead)
    1 tablespoon chili powder
    1 teaspoon salt, plus more if needed
    2 teaspoons black pepper, plus more if needed
    1/2 stick butter
    1 onion, diced
    2 cups grated sharp Cheddar
    Sliced jarred jalapenos

    Put beans in a pot of water and let sit overnight.  In the morning, cook beans at medium-high temp until boiling.  Add 2 tsp baking soda.  Cook for 2 minutes. (This releases the gases in the beans and will keep tummies from feeling like they’ve eaten beans!)  Drain off water, rinse and place beans and bacon in a crock pot with enough water to cover.  Cover and cook on high for 3 hours.  Simmer butter and cook onion until tender.  Add the beans and liquid into a cast iron skillet, along with seasonings.  Cook until the sauce thickens and beans are tender.  Mash with potato masher until some beans still remain whole.  Serve with Cheddar cheese and Jalapenos.

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    Coffee Pie

    1 Cup Water
    1 tlb instant coffee granules
    30 Large marshmallows
    1/2 Cup walnuts
    1 cup Whipping Cream
    Cool Whip
    Chopped Coffee Beans or Mini Chocolate Chips
    Baked pie Shell

    Bake Pie shell.  Let cool.
    In a medium sauce pan, boil water.  Add coffee granules and marshmallows, stirring constantly until melted.  Let cool completely.

    Whip the whipping cream.  Fold into cooled coffee mixture.  Pour into bake pie shell.  Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

    Cover with Cool Whip and Coffee beans or Chocolate chips.  Serve (with coffee!)

    Take the stress out of entertaining and make a menu like this one that can all be prepared ahead of time!  My guests enjoyed it, and if you invite people that love Mexican food, they’ll be really glad you invited them over!

    Happy entertaining!

    Denise Signature 150 px

     

     

    Simplifying Christmas Prep in the Kitchen

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    The kitchen is a busy place in most homes during Christmas. In order to keep it fun and not a drudgery, I’ve come up with six ways to simplify your work, so you can still be (L)oven your kitchen by the time December 25th arrives!

    1. Get dinner in the crock pot first thing in the morning  on a day when you know you’re going to be doing a marathon baking event.   That way you won’t have to stop your progress to fix a meal.  It will also keep your oven free for those cookies!
    2. Get any cookie dough that has to be refrigerated into the fridge on one day, and then bake the cookies the next day.  If you do all the mixing on one day and the rolling and baking on the next you won’t be as worn out!
    3. When you have a few extra minutes, fill a Ziploc bag with the dry ingredients for the cookies, sweet breads, or muffins you’re going to bake in the near future.   Label the bag.  Then on the day when you mix up the dough, you’ll simply have to pour and stir!  You’ve created your own baking mix!!
    4. Keep hot, soapy water in the kitchen sink.  As you work, put your baking utensils in the water.  Wash them up when the dough is complete, or the cookies are in the oven.  The kitchen will be clean when you’re finished and you can turn off the light and go take a hot bath!
    5. Enlist in help!  If you have children, let them put the sprinkles on, crush the candy canes, or chop the nuts (with a hand chopper).
      You could also invite some friends (or your grown daughters/daughters-in-law) over and have each one bring the ingredients for a cookie recipe.  Work together on one recipe at a time.  You won’t believe how fast the work goes!  Divide the spoil between each of you when you’re finished.
    6. Make some treats that require NO BAKING – (like these Chocolate Peanut butter stacks that we LOOOOVE.  Recipe below)
      There are many other No-Bake options –

      1. Peppermint Bark Oreos
      2. Graham Cracker Houses
      3. Santa Hat Cheesecake Bites

    If you haven’t had these and you’re a chocolate and peanut butter fan, trust me when I say that you need these in your life!!

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    Chocolate Peanut Butter Stacks

    Ingredients:
    Ritz crackers
    Peanut butter
    Chocolate bark

    Instructions:
    Spread crackers with peanut butter, top with another cracker.  Dip crackers into melted chocolate bark.I melt my chocolate in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until completely melted.  Set cookies on waxed paper until chocolate hardens.

    By simplifying things in the kitchen, you’re also staying refreshed during a busy time of the year!

    Happy baking,

    Denise Signature 150 px

    (L)Oven Monday – The Best Food Gifts from Your Kitchen

    As I make my preparations for a more “simple” Christmas this year, I’m reminded that giving gifts from what you love is the best kind of gift to share.  If I do what I love – I bake and the receiver knows that it was prepared especially for them with lots of (L)oven from my oven!

    I have many recipes on my blog that I have given away, and I’m going to compile a short list of some of my favorites for you today.  These are simple to make and are LOVED by those that receive them.  Let’s get shopping/baking…

    1. Nutty Orange Coffee Cake – – This is a fancier form of Monkey Bread.  It’s made from canned biscuits, cream cheese and cinnamon and sugar.  It’s pretty, it’s easy to make and is so good it became a Christmas tradition for our breakfast!Nutty orange Coffee cake.jpg
    2. Cranberry Crumble – Another great coffee cake that anyone would LOVE to receive!
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    3. French Bread Loaves – A good old crusty bread tied up in a linen kitchen towel is as lovely as it is delicious!
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    4. Homemade Granola – Gifted in a jar with a pretty ribbon, this granola is perfect for any breakfast lover!
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    5. Cream Cheese Coffee Cakes – These are more like Danishes and who doesn’t love a Cream Cheese Danish????  This recipe makes four, so it really makes great use of your time in the kitchen!
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    6. Deep Dish Hershey Brownies – This is my family’s favorite brownie recipe and I’ve made them for years.  Any chocolate lover will be delighted to receive a plate of these!
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    7. Microwave Caramel Popcorn – This is the easiest caramel popcorn!  It makes a nice pile of popcorn for the snacker on your list!

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    You can also go here for a list of some fabulous cookies to bake up and place in cellophane bags or pretty Christmas tins.

    Food is a wonderful gift of love from your oven to the recipient.  Get baking and finish your gift list!

    Which of these recipes will you make and give away?

    With love from my country kitchen,

    Denise Signature 150 px