Chunky Crock Pot Apples

My husband was recently given a bag filled with homegrown apples from one of his clients. Not wanting to waste any of them, I decided it was the PERFECT opportunity to make Chunky Crock Pot Apples!Chunky Crock Pot Apples / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Do you ever slow cook apples?  The process is so completely easy! In about 10 minutes apples, lemon juice, brown sugar, cinnamon, etc. can be cooking in the crock pot. Let the apples cook on low all day, give them a light “mash”, and end up with phenomenal tasting apples, which can be eaten warm straight out of the crock pot, or can be used  as a topping for pancakes, waffles, cake, ice cream, yogurt, oatmeal, or as a side dish for pork.  The ways to use them are endless, they taste fantastic… and with only a minimal amount of prep involved!

Here’s how to make them:  Peel and remove seeds from 8 large apples (any kind will taste great!).  Slice apples and cut into chunks. Place apple pieces into crock pot, then stir in fresh squeezed lemon juice.  Add cinnamon, brown sugar, water and a touch of butter, put the lid on, and slow cook the apples for 6-7 hours on LOW.

Chunky Crock Pot Apples / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

When the apples are done cooking, they will be nice and tender and will smell (and taste amazing!). I lightly mash them with a potato masher, but leave lots of chunks!  At this point, the apples are DONE! They can be served as is, or used in a great variety of ways, cold OR hot. They are so good, I can eat them right out of the bowl! YUM!

Chunky Crock Pot Apples / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

They taste phenomenal when added to oatmeal. No need to add additional sugar!

Chunky Crock Pot Apples / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

The topping tastes great on pancakes or waffles, too (I use a slotted spoon to let some of the juice drain off before topping the pancake).

Chunky Crock Pot Apples / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Chunky Crock Pot Apples are delicious as a filling for dessert crepes, and even as a topping for ice cream, yogurt, or slices of pound cake.  They are also a great side dish served with cooked pork roast or chops.  Hope you will consider making this easy, versatile recipe.  I’ve never been disappointed in all the years Ive been making them.  Once the apples are cooked, the possibilities are endless!

Have a fantastic day!

Chunky Crock Pot Apples / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Chunky Crock Pot Apples
 
Prep time
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Use your crock pot to make chunky apples, with cinnamon and brown sugar, then enjoy them on pancakes, oatmeal, pound cake, etc.
As Prepared By:
Recipe type: Side Dish
Serves: 4-5 cups
Ingredients
  • 8 large apples (any variety)
  • Lemon juice (from ½ a large lemon)
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar (packed)
  • ⅓ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon butter
Directions
  1. Peel apples, slice, remove seeds, then cut into chunks. Put apples into crock pot.
  2. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over apples and stir to combine.
  3. Add cinnamon, brown sugar, water and butter to crock pot. Stir well.
  4. Place lid on slow cooker; cook apples on LOW for 6-7 hours. Remove lid from apples. Lightly mash tender apples with a potato masher (or a fork if you don't have a potato masher), being sure to leave lots of chunks. Serve and enjoy!
Notes
IDEAS: Serve warm as a side dish with pork. Serve warm over pancakes or waffles (no need for butter or syrup!) Serve warm apples on top of cooked oatmeal (yum) Use as a filling for dessert crepes. Serve cooled chunky apples as a topping on ice cream or yogurt Serve on top of pound cake, etc.

 

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Veggie Lasagna Rollups

I am occasionally on the lookout for ideas for “meatless” meals, since one of our sons is a vegetarian.  I like finding new recipes we can enjoy together when he comes for dinner. Recently I came up with this simple recipe for Veggie Lasagna Rollups, after raiding my pantry and refrigerator for ingredients.Veggie Lasagna Rollups / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Here’s what I came up with:  Use lots of veggies and cheeses inside a rolled up lasagna noodle, then top with an Italian flavored pasta sauce, and bake. Sounded simple enough, and the recipe I ended up with had lots of flavor and tasted great!  Here’s how I made them:

Melt butter in large skillet. Add chopped veggies (yellow and green bell peppers, onion, spinach, and mushrooms). Saute until crisp-tender. Set skillet aside.

Veggie Lasagna Rollups / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Cook lasagna noodles according to package instructions. When done cooking, remove noodles carefully and drain, then lay pasta flat on work surface and blot dry with a paper towel.

Veggie Lasagna Rollups / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Veggie Lasagna Rollups / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

In a bowl, stir together cream cheese, ricotta, Parmesan cheese, and garlic powder until fairly smooth. Reserve and set aside 1/4 of the cheese mixture to add to the top of the lasagna noodles prior to bakingSpoon a layer of remaining cheese mixture down the middle of each noodle, lengthwise. Try to leave about a half inch on either side of noodle clear.

Once noodles have cheese layer, evenly divide the cooked veggies down each noodle.  Top with a bit of grated Mozzarella cheese.  Repeat process for each lasagna noodle.

Veggie Lasagna Rollups / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Spread Italian pasta sauce on the bottom of a large baking dish (enough to lightly cover bottom of dish).  Roll each one of the lasagna noodles up, beginning at the short end.  Place lasagna rollups seam side down in the baking dish. Spoon reserved cheese mixture over tops of lasagna rollups.

Veggie Lasagna Rollups / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Pour pasta sauce over tops and sides of rollups until covered (I used a can of Italian spaghetti sauce for simplicity).  Top the sauce with additional grated Mozzarella cheese and grated Parmesan cheese.

Veggie Lasagna Rollups / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Bake lasagna rollups in a preheated 350 degree oven for approximately 20-25 minutes, or until cheese and sauce are bubbly, and dish is heated through.

Veggie Lasagna Rollups / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
Remove dish from oven. Let it cool for just a minute, then carefully lift each rollup out of dish with a spatula and place onto individual serving plates.  Here’s a sideview of what it looked like once cooked and on the plate… a simple, meatless yet tasty veggie and cheese filled Italian lasagna rollup.  The recipe makes 8 rollups, so depending on how hungry you are, you can either get 4 servings (2 per person) or 8 servings (1 per person).

Veggie Lasagna Rollups / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Hope you will consider trying this recipe. Make it your own by adding any other veggies of your choice to the mix, as well. AND…if you want to add meat… simply brown some crumbled Italian sausage and add to the veggie mixture – whatever works best for you!  Have a great day, friends.

Veggie Lasagna Rollups / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

 

Veggie Lasagna Rollups
 
Prep time
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Cooked veggies, four cheeses, and Italian pasta sauce in rolled up lasagna noodles make this an easy to prepare, delicious and meatless meal.
As Prepared By:
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 8 rollups
Ingredients
  • 4 ounces cream cheese (at room temp)
  • 16 ounces ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 small package frozen spinach, thawed and drained really well
  • 7-8 mushrooms, chopped
  • 8 uncooked lasagna noodles
  • 1½ cups grated mozzarella cheese
  • 2 cups spaghetti sauce (prepared canned marinara)
  • Additional grated mozzarella and Parmesan (for sprinkling on top of rollups before baking)
Directions
  1. Melt butter in large skillet. Add chopped veggies (yellow and green bell peppers, onion, spinach, and mushrooms). Saute until crisp-tender. Set skillet aside.
  2. Cook lasagna noodles according to package instructions. When done, remove noodles carefully and drain; lay pasta flat on work surface and blot dry with a paper towel.
  3. In a bowl, stir together cream cheese, ricotta, Parmesan cheese, and garlic powder until fairly smooth. Reserve and set aside ¼ of cheese mixture to add to top of lasagna noodles prior to baking. Spoon a layer of remaining cheese mixture down the middle of each noodle, lengthwise, leaving about a half inch clear around edges of noodle.
  4. Evenly distribute cooked veggies down each noodle. Top with a bit of grated Mozzarella cheese. Repeat process for each lasagna noodle.
  5. Spread Italian pasta sauce on bottom of a large baking dish (enough to lightly cover bottom of dish). Roll each of the lasagna noodles up, beginning at short end. Place seam side down in baking dish. Spoon reserved cream cheese mixture over top of each rollup.
  6. Pour marinara sauce over tops and sides of rollups until covered. Top with additional grated Mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese (as much as you wish).
  7. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for approximately 20-25 minutes, or until cheese and sauce are bubbly, and dish is heated through.
  8. Remove dish from oven. Let cool for 1-2 minutes, then carefully lift each rollup out of dish with a spatula and place onto individual serving plates.
Notes
The recipe makes 8 rollups, so depending on how hungry you are, you can either get 4 servings (2 per person) or 8 servings (1 per person).
Fresh baby spinach can be substituted for frozen (I was using what I had on hand).

 

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Lemon Cream Scones

My sister told me about a delicious scone recipe she recently tried. Turns out it was the same recipe I had saved on Pinterest several months before and had been meaning to make, so I did!  Wow – really glad I made them…these Lemon Cream Scones are fantastic!Lemon Cream Scones / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
The scones are amazing – they are NOT dry (thankfully!), and get their delicious flavor from lemon zest IN the scones, and a lemon flavored glaze ON TOP of the scones!  They are very easy to make in about 30 minutes from start to finish… here’s how:

The oven is preheated to 400 degrees.  Sugar and lemon zest are mixed together in a medium sized mixing bowl. Flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt are then stirred into sugar/lemon zest mixture until well combined.

Lemon Cream Scones / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
A cube of butter that has been frozen (I only froze it for 15 minutes before starting) is grated directly into the bowl with the flour, etc..  A pastry blender is used to mix until the flour mixture resembled coarse crumbs. (If you don’t own a hand held pastry blender, two forks can be used). The grated frozen butter looks a LOT like grated cheese, right?

Lemon Cream Scones / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Lemon Cream Scones / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Once the dough mixture is the size of coarse crumbs, mix an egg and heavy whipping cream together in a separate bowl. Once fully blended, pour it into the flour mixture, and stir until ingredients are combined. This may take a minute or two. Just keep at it, scraping down the sides of the bowl as you go, to incorporate all the crumbles.

Lemon Cream Scones / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Lemon Cream Scones / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Shape the dough with your hands into a round ball (I did this in the same bowl I mixed the dough in). Once the dough ball is formed, place it onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll the dough out into a 7 inch circle (dough will be about 3/4 inch tall). Cut it into 8 wedges (I use a pizza cutter to make smooth even cuts, but a sharp knife works just as well!).

Lemon Cream Scones / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
Can you see the little pieces of lemon zest in the dough? That adds great FLAVOR!

Lemon Cream Scones / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Place the wedges onto a parchment paper covered baking sheet. (Note: I realized I had run out of parchment paper, so I used wax paper… guess what? I ran out of THAT, also, and only had enough wax paper to hold the dough… barely. BUT… it worked perfectly – Ha Ha… some days are like that!). Leave a bit of space between each wedge.  Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 15 minutes, then remove from oven. Scones should be slightly light golden brown.

Lemon Cream Scones / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Lemon Cream Scones / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Let the scones cool for a moment, then transfer them to a wire rack to finish cooling.  While cooling, prepare the lemon glaze in a small bowl, by mixing together powdered sugar, fresh squeezed lemon juice, melted butter and vanilla extract until smooth.

Lemon Cream Scones / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
Once scones have cooled a bit, brush the lemon glaze over the top of each one. Use ALL the glaze! I like to put a piece of foil or wax paper UNDER the rack to catch any glaze that drips off the scones (for easy cleanup!).

Lemon Cream Scones / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

I like to let a bit of the glaze run down the sides of the scones. YUM!  Once all the glaze has been distributed, let the scones rest a few minutes in order to let the lemon glaze firm up.  Once glaze hardens, they are good to go! Don’t they look GOOD? Wait until you taste them!

Lemon Cream Scones / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Lemon Cream Scones / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

We REALLY loved these scones… I hope you do, too!  Be sure to check out my other scone recipes (in my Recipe Index); I think you will LOVE them! Have a great day, friends.

Lemon Cream Scones / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Recipe Source: https://www.foodfanatic.com/recipes/lemon-cream-scones-recipe/

Lemon Cream Scones
 
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Grab a cup of coffee or tea in one hand and one of these delicious lemon cream scones in the other... and start your day off right!
As Prepared By:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 8 scones
Ingredients
For Scones:
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • lemon zest (from a LARGE lemon)
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 8 Tablespoons butter (one cube), frozen
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
For Lemon Glaze:
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons lemon juice (fresh squeezed)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 Tablespoons butter, melted
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Mix sugar and lemon zest together in medium bowl. Stir flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into mixture until combined.
  3. Grate a frozen cube of butter into flour mixture (use large holes on a box grater). Use a pastry blender (or two forks) to cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  4. In separate bowl, mix one egg and heavy whipping cream together. Once blended, pour it into flour mixture; stir until ingredients are combined. Scrape down sides of the bowl to incorporate crumbles.
  5. Shape the dough with your hands into a round ball (I did this in the same bowl I mixed the dough in). Once dough ball is formed, place it on a lightly floured work surface. Roll dough out into a 7 inch circle (about ¾ inch tall). Cut it into 8 wedges (I use a pizza cutter to make smooth even cuts, but a sharp knife works just as well!).
  6. Place the wedges onto a parchment paper covered baking sheet. Leave a space between each wedge. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 15 minutes, then remove. Scones should be slightly golden brown.
  7. Let scones cool for a moment, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. While cooling, make lemon glaze by mixing together powdered sugar, lemon juice, melted butter and vanilla until smooth.
  8. Once scones are completely cooled, brush lemon glaze over the top of each one. Use ALL the glaze! For easy clean up, put a piece of foil or wax paper UNDER rack to catch any glaze that drips.
  9. Once all glaze has been used, let scones sit for a few minutes, until lemon glaze firms up. Enjoy!

 

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“Old School” Tuna Cashew Casserole

When I was in High School (MANY years ago), I took a Gourmet Foods class. This recipe for “Old School” Tuna Cashew Casserole was one of the recipes we learned to prepare.  If you’re like me, you see the ridiculous humor in a simple tuna casserole being called “gourmet food”, but hey… back then, maybe it was?"Old School" Tuna Cashew Casserole / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
I’ve made this recipe many times over the years, but I still giggle to think it is anything even remotely compared to gourmet food.  Nowadays I like to think of it as a “fairly economical way to feed a family of 4” casserole (especially when it only takes one can of premium tuna as the main ingredient!). Completely simple, and so easy to prepare! The casserole can be served just as it is, straight from the oven, or it can be served on top of rice or noodles.  This time I made it… “as is”, so you can see from the photos what it is supposed to look like when done. Here’s how to make it:

Set aside 1/2 of the chow mein noodles before beginning (you will need them for crunchy topping later!).  Place the remaining ingredients (tuna *I used albacore*, celery, chow mein noodles, cashews, onion, seasonings, water, and cream of mushroom soup) in large bowl.

"Old School" Tuna Cashew Casserole / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Stir well until all ingredients have been combined (see how easy it is?).  Pour into a 2 quart baking dish that has been sprayed with non-stick spray.  Sprinkle the top of casserole with the reserved chow mein noodles.

"Old School" Tuna Cashew Casserole / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

"Old School" Tuna Cashew Casserole / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Bake, uncovered, at 325 degrees for 40 minutes. Casserole should be lightly browned and slightly bubbly around the edges when done.  Remove from oven. Let casserole cool for just a minute or two, then serve as is, or serve on top of rice or noodles.

"Old School" Tuna Cashew Casserole / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Here’s what it looks like right after placing it on a serving plate.  The recipe, as written, makes 4 servings, and is easily doubled.  The casserole has good flavor and crunch from the celery, cashews, and chow mein noodles.  I would classify this simple casserole as “comfort food”, rather than “gourmet food”, but am still glad to have kept this recipe since making it in High School.  When I cooked it this time, I made it to have around for a quick lunch, rather than as a main course meal, but either way, it’s a quick and easy way to get tasty food on the table!

"Old School" Tuna Cashew Casserole / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Have a good day!  Thank you for checking out this simple casserole recipe… a very OLD school recipe! Hope you enjoy it.

"Old School" Tuna Cashew Casserole / The Grateful Girl Cooks!Original recipe source: unknown (had recipe written on 3×5 card since High School)

"Old School" Tuna Cashew Casserole
 
Prep time
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This Old School Tuna Cashew Casserole is a completely easy to prepare comfort food meal, featuring tuna, cashews, chow mein noodles, celery, onion, cream of mushroom soup, etc..
As Prepared By:
Recipe type: Casserole
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 3 ounces chow mein noodles (dry, in can-found in Asian section of grocery store), divided
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • ½ cup cashews, chopped coarsely
  • 1 cup celery, finely diced
  • 6 Tablespoons water
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tuna (preferably albacore), drained
  • 4 Tablespoons onion, minced
  • Salt & pepper (to lightly season)
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Set aside ½ of the chow mein noodles (reserved for topping).
  3. Place remaining ingredients in large mixing bowl; gently stir until fully combined. Pour into a 2 quart casserole dish that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Evenly spread.
  4. Top casserole with reserved chow mein noodles.
  5. Bake casserole, uncovered, at 325 degrees for 40 minutes, until lightly browned and slightly bubbly around the edges.
  6. Remove from oven, let cool for a minute or two, then serve.

 

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Teriyaki Chicken with Homemade Sauce

Here it is… the middle of a freezing winter in Oregon, but on one clear, cold, yet beautiful evening last week, we grilled Teriyaki Chicken With Homemade Sauce OUTSIDE on our BBQ! It was fun, and made us anticipate the hot days of summer which, thankfully, are coming SOON!Teriyaki Chicken with Homemade Sauce / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
I got this simple recipe for an “enhanced” Teriyaki sauce marinade from my sister Julie many years ago. I usually cut the chicken into cubes, marinate them then place chicken on skewers and grill, but this time, I left chicken breasts whole (thin ones) and grilled them, with the same delicious results!  The sauce is ridiculously easy to make, and the chicken is full of flavor. See the Notes section of printable recipe for info. on using this marinade for steak).

Here’s how you make the sauce:

In a medium sized bowl, mix together teriyaki sauce, sugar, cooking sherry, ground ginger, and minced garlic. Stir well until ingredients are fully combined.  Lightly season chicken pieces with salt. Place chicken into a covered container (or heavy duty gallon sized resealable plastic bag) and pour the marinade over the top. Turn to coat all pieces with marinade sauce. Cover container; refrigerate chicken and marinade for at least 6 hours for best flavor (overnight is the best!). Turn chicken occasionally to fully coat.

Teriyaki Chicken with Homemade Sauce / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Teriyaki Chicken with Homemade Sauce / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

When chicken has finished marinating, place chicken onto hot BBQ grill (outdoor or indoor grill) and cook until done. If desired, you can baste the chicken while it cooks with the sauce. (Do NOT use the leftover sauce once the chicken is fully cooked- discard).

Teriyaki Chicken with Homemade Sauce / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

That’s it! See how very easy that was?  The teriyaki chicken has a wonderful flavor, and can be served as an entree… or it can be used to make teriyaki chicken sandwiches (with some grilled pineapple rings- yum!), or can be used in salads or teriyaki rice bowls. The possibilities are endless, and the flavor is wonderful!

Teriyaki Chicken with Homemade Sauce / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Teriyaki Chicken with Homemade Sauce / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

I love recipes that can be made up ahead of time (like marinading the chicken all day), then cooked at the last minute without a lot of fuss. It sure makes an easy main dish for the family!

Have a great day. May you have eyes to see beauty all around as you go through your day.  Whether in a stunning sunset, the eyes of a friend or family member, or a kindness shared or observed… be the kind of person that seeks to find true beauty in it all; be grateful and kind.

Teriyaki Chicken with Homemade Sauce / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Recipe Source:  My sister Julie M.

Teriyaki Chicken with Homemade Sauce
 
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This enhanced teriyaki sauce marinade will add additional flavor to grilled chicken (whole boneless breasts, thighs, or kebabs) OR thinly sliced steak.
As Prepared By:
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup teriyaki sauce
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup cooking sherry
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3-4 minced garlic cloves
  • salt (to season meat with)
  • 4-6 pieces boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs
Directions
  1. In medium sized bowl, combine teriyaki sauce, sugar, sherry, ginger, and minced garlic. Stir until sugar has dissolved and sauce is fully combined.
  2. Season chicken lightly with salt. Place chicken pieces into a large covered container (or gallon sized resealable plastic bag. Add marinade. Turn to fully cover all pieces of chicken with sauce. Cover container and place in refrigerator for at least 6 hours (overnight is the best!) to marinade.
  3. Once meat is done marinating, grill (on outdoor or indoor grill) until done. Serve, and enjoy!
Notes
Chicken can also be cut into 1-2 inch chunks, marinated then placed on skewers for grilling (kebabs).
Top sirloin steak can also be used if sliced very thin, then marinated. Place strips onto skewers, then grill. If you use round steak, meat must be marinated for a longer amount of time.

 

 

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Super Creamy Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie

I LOVE the flavor combination of chocolate and peanut butter, so making a breakfast smoothie using those ingredients was a fabulous idea! Yes… it WAS! This Super Creamy Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie was absolutely AMAZING!Super Creamy Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
I love making smoothies, and love to experiment and try different flavor combos!  This one is extra creamy, thick, and cold, thanks to the addition of a frozen banana, cocoa powder, peanut butter, Greek vanilla yogurt (gotta have that protein), and a bit of milk. I’m not kidding… it is amazing and tastes like a milkshake! Using a pre-frozen banana eliminates the need to add ice (which waters down the smoothie a bit!).

The recipe, as written, makes one 12 ounce smoothie.  Here’s how easy it is to make:

Place a frozen medium banana, milk, Greek vanilla yogurt, peanut butter, and cocoa into a blender. (*Note: if you use PLAIN Greek yogurt, you might want to sweeten the smoothie up a bit with honey). Blend ingredients until fully smooth and thick.

Super Creamy Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Pour smoothie into a tall glass. I made this smoothie for breakfast on a morning when it was 36 degrees outside, but added a fancy umbrella straw so my brain would think I was in a sunny warm and tropical location. Mind over matter and no brain-freeze, right? This would also be a great afternoon treat for the kids (divided into smaller serving sizes, of course)!

I used low-fat milk and yogurt, so the total calorie count came in just around 300 calories, which is not bad for a large smoothie used as a meal replacement. The recipe can easily be doubled OR the smoothie can be divided into TWO or THREE smaller sized servings.

Super Creamy Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Super Creamy Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

The smoothie is really nice and thick, and super creamy… and boy, is it GOOD! Hope you will give it a try! I think you will LOVE it!

Super Creamy Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Super Creamy Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie
 
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Cold, creamy and filled with chocolate, peanut butter, Greek yogurt and a frozen banana, this smoothie will help start your day off with a burst of deliciousness!
As Prepared By:
Recipe type: Beverage
Serves: 1 serving
Ingredients
  • 1 medium banana, FROZEN (see note section)
  • ½ cup low-fat milk
  • ½ cup light Greek vanilla flavored yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon smooth peanut butter
  • 2-3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (I used 3)
Directions
  1. Place all ingredients in blender.
  2. Cover blender and blend for a minute or so, until all ingredients are fully combined and mixture is smooth and thick.
  3. Pour into a 12 ounce glass, and enjoy!
Notes
I like to peel ripe bananas, cut them in half, and store them in re-sealable bags in my freezer. That way, it's very easy to grab a pre-frozen banana any time I need one for a smoothie!
*If using PLAIN Greek yogurt, you may want to add a bit of honey to help sweeten the smoothie.

 

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Butterscotch Chip Cookies

I recently experimented with a cookie recipe I found on Pinterest many months ago. These Butterscotch Chip Cookies were wonderful, especially with the addition of butterscotch chips to the recipe, which added even more flavor to these chewy, crispy, fabulous tasting treats!Butterscotch Chip Cookies / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
These delicious cookies were so EASY to make, and they truly have a wonderful butterscotch flavor!  The recipe makes about 4½ dozen small cookies, but (as you will be able to see from my photos) I made them slightly larger than original recipe instructed, so my net yield was 28 cookies. Whether you choose to prepare large or small cookies, here’s how to make them:

Begin by browning the butter. To do this, place 1½ cubes of butter in a skillet. Melt butter using medium heat, until the butter melts, begins to bubble, froths up, then slightly browns (don’t let butter get too brown… just barely!). Once done, remove skillet from heat.

Butterscotch Chip Cookies / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Butterscotch Chip Cookies / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Add browned butter and brown sugar to a large mixer bowl. Beat these together on medium speed. Once mixed, let mixture sit for a couple minutes, stirring occasionally to let the mixture cool down a bit before adding other ingredients (don’t want mixture hot when you add eggs or they could begin to scramble… you really DON’T want that to happen, do you?).

Once mixture has cooled down a bit, add salt, eggs, and vanilla extract.  Mix well.

Butterscotch Chip Cookies / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Butterscotch Chip Cookies / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

After this, STIR in the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Once mixed, add butterscotch chips and stir well to combine. Set aside.

Butterscotch Chip Cookies / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Butterscotch Chip Cookies / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

In a separate small bowl, mix together brown sugar and granulated sugar, for topping.  Use a 1 Tablespoon sized scoop to scoop dough from bowl and roll dough between your clean hands to form a ball. (*Note: This is where I used a slightly larger scoop to make cookies larger. Process is still the same, though). Once dough is a ball, place it in brown sugar/granulated sugar topping. Roll dough around to cover completely with sugar topping.

Butterscotch Chip Cookies / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Butterscotch Chip Cookies / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Place topping covered balls of dough onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Keep the dough balls about 2 inches apart, as they spread a bit while baking. Bake cookies in a 375 degree oven for 10 minutes.

Butterscotch Chip Cookies / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

When done, remove baking sheet from oven. Let cookies rest for about a minute on baking sheet, then carefully remove cookies (with a spatula) to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Butterscotch Chip Cookies / The Grateful Girl Cooks!Once cookies have cooled, they are good to go!  Enjoy the slight crunch on the outside!  I think they’re at their best once they have completely cooled (I know it’s hard to wait, but trust me on this!).  Once cooled, pile some on a plate, pour yourself a big old glass of milk… and dig in! They’re delicious!

Butterscotch Chip Cookies / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

I hope you enjoy these wonderful cookies! My husband was unexpectedly rushed to the ER and hospitalized earlier this week, and making these cookies ( a couple for us to try, and the rest for friends) helped take my mind off of everything that happened. He is doing okay now, and we are very grateful to God for his recovery and the additional medical care he is receiving.

Have a blessed day. Be kind.

Butterscotch Chip Cookies / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Recipe Adapted From: http://www.shugarysweets.com/2011/09/butterscotch-cookies

Butterscotch Chip Cookies
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Easy to make and delicious to eat, these crispy chewy cookies feature browned butter and butterscotch chips for a GREAT flavor!
As Prepared By:
Recipe type: Cookies
Serves: 4½ dozen
Ingredients
For cookie dough:
  • 1½ cubes butter (12 Tablespoons)
  • 1¾ cups brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
For topping:
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
Directions
  1. Place 1½ cubes of butter in a skillet. Melt butter on medium heat, until butter melts, begins to bubble, froths up, then slightly browns. Once done, remove skillet from heat.
  2. Add browned butter and brown sugar to large mixer bowl. Beat together on medium speed. Once mixed, let mixture sit for a couple minutes, stirring occasionally to let mixture cool down slightly, before adding other ingredients.
  3. Once cooled down a bit, add salt, eggs, and vanilla extract. Mix well.
  4. STIR in flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Once mixed, add butterscotch chips; stir well to combine. Set aside.
  5. In a separate small bowl, mix brown sugar and granulated sugar for topping. Use a 1 Tablespoon sized scoop to scoop dough from bowl and roll dough between your clean hands to form a ball. (*Note: This is where I used a slightly larger scoop to make cookies larger. Process is still the same, though). Once dough is a ball, place it in brown sugar/granulated sugar topping. Roll dough around to cover completely with sugar topping.
  6. Place dough balls onto parchment paper lined baking sheets. Keep dough balls about 2 inches apart, as they spread a bit while baking. Bake cookies in a 375 degree oven for 10 minutes.
  7. Remove baking sheet from oven; let cookies cool for a minute, then remove cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!

 

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How To Can Strawberry Jam

One of the first things I ever learned how to can was Strawberry Jam. There’s just something about a jar of home-canned jam that makes it special. Do you know how to can strawberry jam? It’s not so hard. Really!  It can be made year-round, due to the availability of this delicious fruit.How To Can Strawberry Jam / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
I grow strawberries in my small backyard garden, and love to have them to snack on.  But when I am going to make jam, I usually end up going to a local U-Pick farm in the Spring and picking a large amount of them, as you can see from the photo below. Regardless of how you “get” the strawberries (growing them, grocery store or picking them at a farm), jars of homemade strawberry jam are wonderful to have in the pantry to enjoy, and have available to give as gifts throughout the year.

How To Can Strawberry Jam / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Strawberry Jam is canned for long term storage using a water bath canner.  While getting the jam made and ready for canning, you can begin heating the water in a canner, and prepping jars, lids and rings per manufacturer instructions, so everything is ready to go when the jam is ready.

Here’s how to make the jam and can it:  Start by placing clean and de-stemmed strawberries in a large bowl and crush them (I use my potato masher to crush the fruit). You can also use a food processor for this, but do not puree the fruit. Use the pulse button to chop fruit. You need small pieces of the strawberries in the jam!

Measure the exact amount of crushed fruit the recipe calls for into a large heavy saucepot.  Add fresh lemon juice and 1 box of powdered pectin into the fruit; stir to combine. I also add 1/2 teaspoon of butter to the fruit, which helps to keep the fruit from foaming too much while it cooks (but this is optional).

How To Can Strawberry Jam / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Measure exact amount of sugar into a separate bowl. Set aside until ready to add to the hot fruit mixture.

Bring the strawberry mixture to a FULL ROLLING BOIL over High heat.  Stir mixture CONSTANTLY.  (*A full rolling boil means that the strawberry mixture doesn’t stop boiling, even when you are stirring it). As soon as mixture comes to a full rolling boil, dump ALL the sugar in at once, and stir well, to combine.

Bring the jam mixture back to a FULL ROLLING BOIL, then let it boil for 4 minutes. Be sure to stir jam constantly so it won’t burn on the bottom of pan.  Remove pan from heat. Skim off any foam that appears on top of jam and discard.

How To Can Strawberry Jam / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Ladle the hot jam quickly into clean, pre-heated jars.  Fill each jar almost to top, leaving 1/8 inch headspace. Insert a non-metallic utensil into each jar two or three times to remove air bubbles, then adjust headspace, if necessary.

How To Can Strawberry Jam / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Wipe the rims of each jar with a wet paper towel or clean dishcloth to remove any jam residue (residue would prevent jars from sealing properly).  Cover each jar with prepared flat lid, add screwband and tighten. Place the hot jars (using canning tongs) onto canning rack.

strawberry5How To Can Strawberry Jam / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

How To Can Strawberry Jam / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

How To Can Strawberry Jam / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Lower rack into simmering water in canner (the reason the jars must be on a slightly elevated rack is so the jars don’t crack while in contact with direct heat on bottom of pan).  Make sure the hot water completely covers the jar tops by a couple inches (add additional hot water if needed). Cover the canner.  Bring the water inside to a gentle boil. Once boiling, process the jam for 10 minutes.

How To Can Strawberry Jam / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

When processing time is complete, remove jars and place them upright on a dish towel until they have cooled completely (do not place hot jars directly onto kitchen counter. Temperature variances could cause the jars to crack).

How To Can Strawberry Jam / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Once jars have completely cooled (12 hours or overnight), make sure to test the seal on the jars before storing in pantry. (Press the middle part of the lid. If it springs back, the seal is bad, and the jam will need to be stored in the refrigerator). If the jars have a good seal,  label them and store in pantry, as they are shelf stable.
How To Can Strawberry Jam / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

When ready to use, open up a jar, and spread some of that thick, sweet strawberry-goodness on a piece of toast… and ENJOY the delicious work of your hands! YUM!

How To Can Strawberry Jam / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Have a wonderful day!  Spring is just around the corner… can’t wait to get out there, pick some fresh delicious strawberries and make more jam! I’ve given away so many jars of homemade jam to friends and family recently, I need to make more just so WE can have some around to enjoy this year!  Go figure!

How To Can Strawberry Jam / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Recipe Source:  Written instructions with box of MCP Premium 100% Natural Fruit Pectin

How To Can Strawberry Jam
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
As Prepared By:
Recipe type: Jam
Serves: 11 cups
Ingredients
  • 5¾ cups crushed strawberries (approx. 6 pints of strawberries)
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 box MCP powdered pectin
  • ½ teaspoon butter (to help cut down on foaming-optional)
  • 8½ cups granulated sugar
Directions
  1. While getting jam ready for canning, begin heating water in canner, and prep jars, lids and rings per manufacturer instructions , so they're ready to go once jam is ready.
  2. Place strawberries in large bowl and crush them (I use my potato masher to crush the fruit). You can use a food processor for this, but do not puree fruit. Use pulse button to chop fruit. You need small pieces of strawberries in the jam!
  3. Measure exact amount of fruit the recipe calls for into large saucepot. Add fresh lemon juice and 1 box powdered pectin; stir to combine. (I add ½ teaspoon of butter also, which helps keep foam amount down during cooking.
  4. Measure exact amount of sugar into separate bowl. Set aside.
  5. Bring strawberry mixture to a FULL ROLLING BOIL on High heat. Stir mixture constantly (*A full rolling boil means the fruit doesn't stop boiling, even while stirring). As soon as mixture comes to a full rolling boil, dump ALL the sugar in at once, and stir well, to combine.
  6. Bring jam back to a FULL ROLLING BOIL, then let it boil for 4 minutes. Be sure to stir jam constantly. When done, remove pan from heat. Skim off any foam on top of jam and discard.
  7. Ladle hot jam quickly into clean, pre-heated jars. Fill each jar, leaving ⅛ inch of headspace. Remove air bubbles from jar by inserting a non-metallic utensil into jar 2 or 3 times. Wipe rims of jars with wet paper towel or dishcloth to remove any jam residue (residue prevents jars from sealing properly). Cover jars with prepared flat lid, add screwband and tighten. Place jars carefully (using canning tongs) onto canning rack. Lower rack into hot simmering water in canner. Make sure hot water completely covers jar tops by a couple inches (add additional hot water if needed). Cover the canner.
  8. Bring water in canner to a gentle boil. Once boiling, process jam for 10 minutes.
  9. When processing time is complete, remove jars and place them upright on a dish towel on counter until they've cooled completely (do not place hot jars directly onto kitchen counter. Temperature variances could cause jars to crack).
  10. Once jars have completely cooled (12 hours or overnight), make sure to test seal on the jars before storing in pantry. (Press middle part of the lid with index finger. If it springs back, seal is bad, and jar will need to be stored in refrigerator). If jars have a good seal, label the jars and store in pantry.

 

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Smoked Sausage, Veggie and Rice Skillet

Are you looking for an easy  “all in one pan” dish to prepare quickly after a busy day? How about this recipe for a Smoked Sausage, Veggie and Rice Skillet? This meal with meat, veggies and rice is made in under 30 minutes in one skillet, for especially easy cleanup!Smoked Sausage, Veggie and Rice Skillet / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
A few months ago my husband and I had dinner with friends prior to their move to Japan for a new work assignment. I asked my friend Erin (who has tried other recipes of mine) what type of recipes she would like to see on my blog that would help her feed her family of 5. She said she loves easy One Pan meals. Well, when I saw this recipe on Pinterest pop up, I knew it would fit the bill, so I tried it, and found this meal to be tasty, filling, and economical… and EASY to make, so I am sharing it here on the old blog! Here’s how to make it:

First thing… get all veggies prepped/sliced and rice ready to cook before you begin.

Heat olive oil on medium heat in large skillet. When hot, add sliced sausage. Cook until sausage has lightly browned. Add minced garlic; cook for an additional minute, stirring often so the garlic won’t burn.
Smoked Sausage, Veggie and Rice Skillet / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Add sliced bell peppers, onion, broccoli, chicken broth and tomato sauce to the skillet. Stir to combine ingredients.

Smoked Sausage, Veggie and Rice Skillet / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Simmer uncovered on low heat for 10-12 minutes, until liquid has been absorbed.

Smoked Sausage, Veggie and Rice Skillet / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

While sausage and veggies are cooking, cook rice per package instructions. Stir 2 cups of hot, cooked rice into sausage/veggie mixture when done.

Smoked Sausage, Veggie and Rice Skillet / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Season with salt and pepper (and any other additional spices you may want to add), to taste.  Immediately sprinkle with grated mozzarella cheese, and serve hot.

Smoked Sausage, Veggie and Rice Skillet / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

That’s it! Not bad for an “all in one dish” meal, right? It really does fills you up, too! Depending on the portion size you choose, you can get between 4 and 5 servings out of this meal.
EASY PEASY!

Smoked Sausage, Veggie and Rice Skillet / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Hope you will give this ridiculously easy dish a try.  Have a fantastic day, and God Bless You!

Smoked Sausage, Veggie and Rice Skillet / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Recipe Source:  http://www.hillshirefarm.com/recipes/easy-smoked-sausage-skillet

Smoked Sausage, Veggie and Rice Skillet
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Delicious and easy one pan meal featuring smoked sausage, rice, broccoli, onions, and bell peppers.
As Prepared By:
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 4-5 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 package smoked sausage link (I used Hillshire Farm), cut into ¼ inch slices
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • ½ yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 small package frozen broccoli, thawed (approx. 1½-2 cups)
  • ½ cup chicken broth (can substitute water)
  • ½ cup tomato sauce
  • 2 cups pre-cooked rice (prepared according to package directions)
  • ½ cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
Directions
  1. Heat olive oil in large skillet. When hot, add sliced sausage. Cook until sausage has lightly browned. Add minced garlic; cook for an additional minute, stirring often so that garlic will not burn.
  2. Add sliced peppers, onion, broccoli, chicken broth and tomato sauce to the skillet. Stir to combine ingredients and simmer on low heat for 10-12 minutes, until liquid has been absorbed.
  3. While sausage and veggies are cooking, cook rice per package instructions. Stir hot, prepared rice into sausage/veggie mixture when done.
  4. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  5. Immediately sprinkle with grated mozzarella cheese and serve while hot.
Notes
This dish (as written)is not highly seasoned (which is great for kids!). If desired, add additional spices (garlic powder, dried chili pepper flakes, etc.) to suit your personal taste. May also substitute Pepper Jack cheese (for the mozzarella) for a bit more spice!

 

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Butter-Topped Homemade White Bread

What do you do when you’re housebound because of snow and ice for days and days? Well… I like to bake, so I tried a new recipe, and made some absolutely delicious Butter-Topped Homemade White Bread.Butter-Topped Homemade White Bread / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
Recently we had almost 9 inches of snow overnight, and it stuck around for a week due to a crazy layer of ice AND well below freezing temperatures. We were almost out of bread, so I decided to bake some, trying a new recipe I found on Pinterest. It was a bloggers old family recipe from their Grandma Rosebud… and boy was it GOOD! The recipe is absolutely going into my permanent collection of “make again” bread recipes! Our “snowed in house” smelled amazing as it baked, and the bread turned out perfect!

Here’s how you make this bread (recipe makes two loaves!):

Yeast is dissolved in warm water until bubbly (about 5 minutes). Then (in the bowl of a stand mixer), sugar, salt, butter and more warm water is added and mixed using the paddle attachment. Part of the flour (5 cups) is added while mixer is on Low speed and dough is mixed together. Once the flour is mixed in, the remaining flour was slowly added until dough is smooth.  I ended up only adding 4 additional cups of flour.  (Note**: At this point if you have a really LARGE stand mixer, continue on with a dough hook.  I added a dough hook (as in photo) but realized there was too much dough for my small stand mixer to handle as it mixed, so at this point in the recipe I removed the dough to a lightly floured work surface and continued by hand).

Butter-Topped Homemade White Bread / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

You can either divide dough in half and use the dough hook for each portion or you can knead the dough by hand. I chose to knead the dough by hand. Knead the dough (either method you choose) for 10 minutes. Here is what the dough looked like after kneading.

Butter-Topped Homemade White Bread / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
Lightly spray a large bowl with cooking spray (or butter). Place the kneaded dough in the bowl and flip over, so that the dough is completely covered with cooking spray.  Cover dough (I used several dish towels) and put it in a warm spot to let the dough rise for an hour.

Butter-Topped Homemade White Bread / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Butter-Topped Homemade White Bread / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

After an hour, punch down the dough with your fist (boom!); divide the dough in half and place on a lightly floured surface.  Roll out each piece until each piece is about 12 x 12 square. Make sure the dough is of uniform thickness.  Roll up each piece tightly, and seal the edges well.  Repeat the process with the other piece of dough, being sure to tuck the ends of dough under the bread and placing the seam side down.

Butter-Topped Homemade White Bread / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Butter-Topped Homemade White Bread / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Lightly spray two 9 inch bread loaf pans (bottom and sides). Place bread dough into pans, seam side down. Cover pans, put them in a warm spot, and let dough rise for another hour.

Butter-Topped Homemade White Bread / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Butter-Topped Homemade White Bread / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Once dough has doubled in size, place loaves on low rack in preheated 425 degree oven. Bake for 15 minutes; then lightly cover each loaf with aluminum foil (so it won’t get too brown), then continue baking for an additional 15 minutes. (30 minutes total- half uncovered, half covered).  As soon as bread is done baking, remove from oven, place pans on wire rack, and brush the tops with melted butter.

Butter-Topped Homemade White Bread / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Once bread has cooled slightly, remove loaves from the bread pans. Don’t the finished loaves look great? Look how tall the loaves are, also!

Butter-Topped Homemade White Bread / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Butter-Topped Homemade White Bread / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Once bread has cooled down a bit, cut a big ol’ slice with a serrated knife. My husband and I could hardly wait to try a warm slice of homemade bread with some butter on it! Wow- it tasted fantastic!  We’ve been enjoying toast for breakfast, as well as having thick slices of bread with soup or our dinner as we wait for the snow to melt this week.

Butter-Topped Homemade White Bread / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

I really cannot express to you just how good this bread was (and still is!). Yes… the downside of baking your own bread is that it takes a bit of time waiting for the dough to rise, but the end result is well worth it in every way! Besides… when you are snowed in, you’ve got all the time in the world!  Sure do hope you will consider making this delicious bread.

Butter-Topped Homemade White Bread / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Recipe Source: http://www.thecurvycarrot.com/2011/03/28/rosebuds-butter-topped-white-bread/

Butter-Topped Homemade White Bread
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Old-fashioned white bread ... made by hand, and topped with melted butter. What could be better?
As Prepared By:
Recipe type: Bread
Serves: 2 loaves
Ingredients
  • 4½ teaspoons dry active yeast (or two packets)
  • ¾ cup warm water (don't use HOT or it can kill the yeast!)
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 3 Tablespoons butter (room temperature, cut into pieces)
  • 2 + ⅔ cups additional warm water
  • 9-10 cups all purpose flour (I ended up only needing 9)
  • 4 Tablespoons (½ cube) butter, melted (to brush on finished loaves)
  • Non-stick cooking spray (or butter) (to coat bowl and loaf pans)
Directions
  1. Dissolve yeast in warm (not hot!) water until bubbly in bowl of stand mixer (about 5 minutes). Add sugar, salt, butter and more warm water and mix, using paddle attachment. Add 5 cups of flour slowly while mixer is on low speed until dough is mixed together. Slowly add remaining flour until dough is smooth. I ended up only adding 4 additional cups of flour (a total of 9 cups).
  2. You can either divide dough in half and use the dough hook and stand mixer for each portion or you can knead the dough by hand. I chose to knead the dough by hand on a lightly floured surface. Knead dough (either method you choose) for 10 minutes.
  3. Lightly spray large bowl with cooking spray (or butter). Place dough in bowl and flip over, so dough is covered with cooking spray. Cover dough and put in a warm spot to rise for an hour.
  4. After an hour, punch down dough with your fist; divide dough in half; place on lightly floured surface. Roll out dough (one at a time) until each is about 12 x 12 square. Make sure the dough is of uniform thickness. Roll up each piece tightly; seal the edges well and tuck ends under the bread; set aside, seam side down. Repeat the process with other half of dough.
  5. Lightly spray two 9 inch loaf pans (bottom and sides). Place bread dough into pans, seam side down. Cover pans, put them in a warm spot, and let dough rise for 1 hour, until doubled in size.
  6. Place loaves on low rack in preheated 425 degree oven. Bake 15 minutes; then lightly cover each loaf with aluminum foil (so it won't get too brown); continue baking for an additional 15 minutes. (30 minutes total- half uncovered, half covered). As soon as bread is done, remove pans from oven, place on wire rack, and brush top of loaves with melted butter.
  7. Once bread has cooled slightly, remove loaves from the bread pans. Slice and enjoy!
Notes
If you have a small standing mixer, I would advise dividing the dough and kneading each portion separately using mixer and dough hook OR kneading the dough by hand. Kneading entire amount by hand was much quicker! There is a LOT of dough (too much for a small mixer to handle without burning out motor).

 

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