Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies

Like lemon poppy seed muffins? These have the same taste and the same chewy, moist texture, but in cookie form. I don’t cook with poppy seeds often, this is only one of two recipes on the blog featuring them (the other is this great chicken recipe). Typically, I rarely see poppy seeds without their bff lemon, and this is no exception. Delicious, soft, warm, lemony! The only thing they’re lacking is some sort of sugary glaze! Which, really, I should work on if I’m going to throw the idea out there. For the meantime, though, here’s the recipe:

- 1 cup shortening

- 3/4 cup sugar

- 1 egg

- 1/4 cup poppy seeds

- 2 Tbsp. Greek yogurt

- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice

- 2 cups flour

- 1 /2 tsp. baking powder

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cream together your shortening and sugar. Add the egg, poppy seeds, yogurt, and lemon juice. Sift together the flour and baking soda, then add as well. Mix thoroughly. Bake on a nonstick cookie sheet about one inch apart for ten minutes.

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Breadsticks (Starring My Previous Enemy, Yeast)

And so it’s happened. I tried the yeast. First of all, yeast looks nothing like what you think it would look like. It’s kind of grainy and not some living, moving, all-consuming creature of horror movies. It was kind of disappointing. My mother gave me this Betty Crocker Baking 101-type book that she swore by and this was the first recipe I found that seemed simultaneously yummy and not entirely intimidating. I had all the ingredients on hand, including the dreaded yeast, and the recipe itself wasn’t going to take hours to make. The original recipe did call for a few things that I don’t have on hand (candy thermometer and egg separator, to be specific…I understand the need for a candy thermometer, but not really the egg separator. Use your hand like a normal person), but I made do. The most utterly surprising and beautiful thing about the entire process (to me, anyway) was not the end result, as fabulous as it was to create bread that tastes like bread, but the kneading. All of the bread I’ve made up to this point was very un-knead-able. Too sticky, too goopy, too gross. This dough just came together in a non-sticky, smooth, firm, beautiful ball of dough all by itself. No coaxing on my part at all. Like an edible stress ball. It was very therapeutic. I highly recommend some good and proper bread kneading to everyone. Here’s what I used:

- 2 1/4 tsp. fast-acting dry yeast

- 2/3 cup water

- 1 Tbsp. sugar

- 1 tsp. salt

- 1/4 cup olive oil

- 1 3/4 cup flour

- 2 Tbsp. olive oil

- 1 egg white

- 1 Tbsp. water

- All-natural sea salt

Place your yeast in a large bowl. Heat your water until just about boiling but not quite. Pour the water over your yeast and stir to dissolve. Stir in the sugar, salt, oil, and 1 cup of the flour with a wooden spoon. Stir in the remaining flour. If you need to add more, that’s okay, but the goal is to make the dough only a tiny bit sticky and easy to handle. Throw a handful of flour onto your countertop and begin to knead the dough in a back-and-forth motion with the heels of your hands.  Knead for five minutes, adding a bit of flour if you need it. Marvel at how ridiculously smooth, elastic, and firm the dough becomes as you knead it, and wonder why none of the dough you’ve ever made before has felt like this. So then you’re going to start pinching off bits of dough to roll out into your breadsticks. I was able to get about fifteen breadsticks from this, but I wish I had made fewer of them so that they were thicker. I really think you could just make seven or eight total really thick breadsticks and you’d be just find, but it’s up to you. Place the breadsticks one inch apart on a greased cookie sheet, cover with a sheet of aluminum foil and let rise in a warm place for twenty minutes. If your house is an igloo like mine, you can always set your oven to the warm setting a little bit before you start your baking, and then let them rise in there once the oven is cool enough. Meanwhile, make an egg wash with your egg white and water (if you’re looking for something to do with the yolk, here is a recipe that uses a yolk only, not the white). When your breadsticks are finished rising, brush with the egg wash and sprinkle liberally with the sea salt. Bake at 350 degrees for twenty-five minutes. Marvel at your mad skills. If you didn’t catch on, a lot of marveling happens when you succeed at baking with yeast.

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Quick Parm Pasta

I’m not going to lie to you, I’m more interested in tomorrow’s post than I am this post, but I feel obligated to myself to post this one, because this is what I made and ate today, and if I’m anything, I’m a creature of habit and consistency. Not that there’s anything in the slightest wrong with this dish. It’s delicious (although I feel like the photo today is a bit lacking) and easy, a combination that I thoroughly like. What I’m really excited about though, is that tomorrow’s post features…(cue the scary music) bread! And not just any bread…breadsticks! Breadsticks that I ate with this pasta, breadsticks that I made with my own two hands, breadsticks that actually tasted like breadsticks! That I made with actual yeast! Finally, bread that doesn’t taste like a doggy biscuit! But, enough about that, I’ll save my enthusiasm for tomorrow. Have some deliciously easy pasta in the meantime.

- 8 oz. spaghetti

- 8 Tbsp. butter

- 1 egg yolk, no white

- 2 Tbsp. garlic powder

- 1 Tbsp. parsley

- Salt & pepper

- 1 cup grated Parmesan

In a pot of salted, boiling water, cook your spaghetti until done. In a saucepan, melt your butter and whisk in the egg yolk, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and parsley. Toss with the cooked spaghetti and then mix in the Parmesan cheese.

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3 Meatballs, 2 Starches, 2 Sauces – 12 Meals (Part 3)

This is the final post to this series, so if you’ve missed the first two, they are here and here. Am I the only person who likes those little smoky sausages that come in the grape jelly? Well we’re not doing anything like that today, but there is peach preserves, which is almost as good. Sauce #1 has a pretty sharp tang to it, and I think it would also be pretty good on chicken or in some kind of Chinese dish. Don’t ask me to name what Chinese dish that would be though, because I only order Chinese, I don’t cook it. I know, I need to branch out. For some reason, it’s one of those things that intimidate me, like the dreaded yeast. Sauce #2 is the best of the two, in my opinion, and also tastes like something you could use for grilling. Try them out for yourself and see what you like. (I think you can figure out which one is which in the photo below…unless you’re colorblind, in which case the top one is sauce #1).

 

Sauce 1:

- 1/2 cup peach preserves

- 1 tsp. lemon juice

- 1 Tbsp. mustard

Mix all ingredients well, heat until bubbling, and serve alongside your meatballs and noodles/rice.

 

Sauce 2:

- 3/4 cup ketchup

- 1/2 cup water

- 1/3 cup sugar

- 1 Tbsp. dehydrated onion

- 1 tsp. mustard

- 3 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

Mix all ingredients well, heat until bubbling, and serve alongside your meatballs and noodles/rice.

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3 Meatballs, 2 Starches, 2 Sauces – 12 Meals (Part 2)

So if you haven’t read part 1 of this three-part series, here it is. As much as I know it isn’t good for me, I love, love, love starches. I could eat pasta and potatoes all day, every day. They’re warm, they’re filling, they’re comforting, they’re making me fat. Eh, I’ll just take the dog for another walk so I can eat more potatoes. No potatoes here for this post, though. I will say, though, that these are some pretty good recipes for how simple they are. Sometimes simple is good though, especially if you’re making them to go along with the meatballs and sauces. I would honestly eat them all by themselves though, they were that good. Especially the rice. So, here you go, eat some starch. Don’t be ashamed.

Egg Noodles:

- 12 oz. flat egg noodles

- 4 Tbsp. butter

- 2 Tbsp. dill

- 2 Tbsp. chives

- Salt

Cook the noodles in boiling salted water until done, about fifteen minutes. Drain and add the butter, stirring to melt. Add the dill, chives, and a pinch of salt and combine.

Rice:

- 1 1/2 cup brown rice

- 2 1/2 cup water

- 1 Tbsp. butter

- 1 Tbsp. sea salt

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Dump your uncooked rice into a glass square casserole dish. Bring your water, butter, and salt to boil. Immediately after it’s reached a boil, pour it onto of the rice, give it a quick stir, and tightly cover with a sheet of aluminum foil. Bake for 1 hour, stirring when done to fluff.

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3 Meatballs, 2 Starches, 2 Sauces – 12 meals (Part 1)

I really have no idea why I decided to do a post series on meatballs. I think part of it is that I really love doing post series. I think something like meatballs is so versatile that you can really change it up in a lot of ways to make different meals with different flavors with the same basic ingredients. And if you’re also on a budget, you should know that using your ingredients to their optimum capacity is one of the best things you can do to keep your foodie sanity. So here we have three different meatball recipes, two different starches that go with them (since meatballs typically go atop some kind of starch whether it be egg noodles, rice, potatoes, sub sandwiches, etc), and then two different sauces to top it all off. That adds up to twelve different meal possibilities if my math is right, which normally I don’t trust my math skills, but I think I’m on the right track this time. So for Part 1 of the series we’ll go with your meatball recipes, then Part 2 will be the starches, and Part 3 will be the sauces. Easy enough. So let’s go. (Keep in mind, that you by no means need to make 3 pounds of meatballs if you don’t want to. I definitely divided down the recipes to make them suitable for just the two of us.)

Meatball recipe 1:

- 1 lb. beef

- 1/4 c milk

- 4 Tbsp. dehydrated onion

- 1 egg

- 4 Tbsp. Italian flavored breadcrumbs

- 4 Tbsp. flour

- 1/4 cup water

- Salt & pepper

Mix ALL of your ingredients together. It’s going to look kind of soupy and pink. Don’t be afraid. Pop that stuff into the fridge for 30 minutes. When they’re done chilling, roll them into ping pong ball size meatballs and fry in butter on medium-high heat until done on both sides. This recipe is more moist than the other two.

Meatball recipe 2:

- 1 lb. beef

- 4 Tbsp. breadcrumbs

- 1/2 cup milk

- 1 egg

- 2 Tbsp. dehydrated onion

- Salt & pepper

Mix all of your ingredients together and allow to rest at room temperature for ten minutes. Roll into golf ball sizes and fry in butter. These meatballs turned out bigger and dryer than the other two recipes, and were probably my least favorite of the three. But the list of ingredients is short, you know.

Meatball recipe 3:

- 1 lb. beef

- 1 cup breadcrumbs

- 1 egg

- 1 tsp. cumin

- 1 tsp. garlic powder

- 1 tsp. parsley

- Salt & pepper

Mix all the ingredients together and roll into ping pong ball size meatballs and fry in more butter! What, you didn’t think I was going to stray away from the butter on the last one, did you? These were the most flavorful and probably  my favorite (and not only because I had finally figured out the right time frame for the frying). They were a little bit…flatter and not as ball-shaped after they were finally fried, but I’m okay with that.

Here’s a nice picture of the total finished project, and come back tomorrow for some seriously awesome rice and egg noodles, I’m not even lying.

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See recipe #3, which didn’t hold it’s shape as well.

 

 

Fry Bread, Because I Can’t Give it Up

Well, I had another major bread fiasco this week. Because of course I can’t give it up. I did have one comment on my Soda Bread post saying I should really just get over my fear of yeast and give it a try, so that’s on my to-do list. Whenever I see a recipe that I have all of the ingredients on hand for, I’m a little bit powerless, though. So, while the title of this post may be misleading, it’s not the fry bread that I can’t give up. I can do without fry bread made by own two hands for a very, very long time. It’s the search for some sort of bread that I can actually make successfully that I can’t give up. This wasn’t it, though. Here’s what I used:

- 1 1/2 cup flour

- 3/4 cup water

- Salt

- Olive oil

Combine the flour, water, and salt and kneed until smooth, or until you have dough clubs for hands, which will inevitably happen if you’re me. Pop into the fridge for ten minutes, then split the dough into fourths. Roll each fourth of dough into about a six inch diameter circle. Brush a little bit of oil onto your dough circle, roll the circle back into a ball and then spread out into a circle again. Heat 1 tsp. of olive oil in a skillet on medium-high heat. Proceed to fry the bread, browning on both sides. They’re going to look a little bit like a pita, and taste a whole lot like nothing.

In other words, it’s time to go buy some yeast. Anyone have any yeasty bread recipes to recommend?

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