Monthly Archives: September 2009

Oatmeal Cookies

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I have been baking as long as my mother would let me in the kitchen.  Which was always.  She was great about cooking as long as I would clean the kitchen.  But, I only could bake.  No main dishes or vegetables or anything like that.  Why?  I guess it was because baking to an extent is very cheap.  Flour, sugar, eggs, milk and butter that’s about all you need.  We were on a very tight budget.  Sooo I have been baking for a long time. And you know I don’t even care for sweets that much.  I just love to bake.  Here is another recipe back in the day of the first few years of teaching.  It is from Quaker Oats website.  It no longer appears on the box.

First a few tips about baking cookies:

  • Make sure that you use butter which I prefer or margarine for baking.  Do not use whipped or low-fat margarine.
  • Ingredients should be at room temperature.
  • Butter should be soft, but not too soft or the cookies will flatten as they bake
  • Use parchment paper on your cookie sheets. This saves time in washing cookie sheets.
  • Find a good cookie sheet.  Expensive is not always the best.  A shiny cookie sheet is better than dull.
  • Do not use your cookie sheet for any other food for example to make cheese toast .
  • Be careful about the cooking time.  You should know your oven.  Does it cook quicker or slower than the recipe recommends?
  • Just 1 minute more cooking time for cookies is a lot.  Remember these are small little things!

    Measure all ingredients separately

    Measure all ingredients separately

Softened Butter and Sugars
Softened Butter and Sugars
Cream butter and sugar

Cream butter and sugar

Add egg and vanilla

Add egg and vanilla

Add dry ingredients except oats

Add dry ingredients except oats

Mix well

Mix well

Stir in oats

Stir in oats

Place on baking sheet with parchment paper

Place on baking sheet with parchment paper

Quaker’s Best Oatmeal Cookies

  • 11/4 cups butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 11/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 salt (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 cups Quakers Oats old fashioned

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Beat together margarine and sugars until creamy.  Add egg and vanilla: beat well.  Add combined flour, baking soda, salt and spices: mix well. Stir in oats: mix well.  Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake 8 to 9 minutes for a chewy cookie or 10 to 11 minutes for a crisp cookie.  Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet: remove to wire rack.  Cool completely.  Store in a tightly covered container.

Makes about  4 1/2 dozen

ENJOY!

The Teacher Cooks

62 Comments

Filed under Cookies, Cooking, Dessert, Oatmeal, Recipes

SOUP Day—Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup --yummy

Chicken Tortilla Soup --yummy

I am on a mission for the next couple of weeks!  That is nothing unusual though.  Having a mission in life is a good thing.  I have to present four twenty minute talks to about two hundred freshmen parents.  The topic is feeding hungry teenagers with good healthy food and doing it quickly.  What popped  in my mind first was the crockpot.  You have to use this if you walk through the door at 6:00 PM and the teens are demanding food at 6:01PM.  This is a recipe that I have used many many times .  The name says soup, but to me it is more like a stew.  To make it more of a soup add more tomato sauce.  Try it when you are in a time crunch it will be a hit!!

Chicken Tortilla Soup (Stew)

  • 4 chicken breast
  • 2 15 oz. cans of black beans                                                                 

    Here is what you need

    Here is what you need

  • 2 15 oz. cans of Rotel tomatoes
  • 1 cup salsa ( I used the whole jar)
  • 4 oz. chopped green chilies
  • 1 14 oz can tomato sauce
  • Tortilla chips
  • Monterey Jack cheese

 

 Put all the ingredients except tortilla chips and cheese into the crockpot.  Cook on low for about 8 hours. Just before serving take out the chicken and shred with a fork.  Place back in the crockpot.  In a bowl place chips with cheese and ladle soup on top.  This makes about 10 servings.  You can easily half the recipe.  The shredded chicken is great in chicken quesadillas . 

 

Using a liner saves on clean up

Using a liner saves on clean up

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remove chicken from the crockpot

Remove chicken from the crockpot

 

Shred with a fork

Shred with a fork and add back to crock pot

Cube or shred cheese

Cube or shred cheese

Add chips and cheese .  Then ladle in the soup!

Add chips and cheese . Then ladle soup!

 

 ENJOY,

The Teacher Cooks

23 Comments

Filed under Cheese, Chicken, Crock Pot, easy, healthy, quick, Soup, Tortilla Soup

Cajun Pork Roast

Low calorie, easy and delicious!

Low calorie, easy and delicious!

Another day at home with little water.  I am clean though.  Just took a bath in about 2 inches of water.  Brought me back to the  days of  staying  at my grandmother’s farm with no running water.  It was fun when I was 5 years old , but now you could say I am spoiled!  The news is that it could be into next week before our water is back to normal.  It could be worse.

I usually grill pork tenderloin , but with all the rain I pulled out an old recipe from  pork The Other White Meat.   Pork is so versatile.  I serve this with Hashbrown Casserole ( I will share the recipe later ) or a baked potato and something  green like asparagus, broccoli, or green salad.  All of this is quick and easy to do.  Here is the recipe.

 

Cajun Pork Roast

  • 2 lb. boneless pork loin roast
  • cooking oil
  • 3 Tbs. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper
  • 1 Tbs. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. oregano
  • 2 tsp. thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
Combine all the seasonings

Combine all the seasonings

Brush the roast with oil

Brush the roast with oil using Le Creuset silicone brush

Rub seasoning over roast

Rub seasoning over roast

Place in pan and roast 350 degrees

Place in pan and roast 350 degrees

Roast until internal tempt. is 155 degrees

Roast until internal tempt. is 155 degrees

Your prep time  is only about 5 minutes and the oven does the rest.  After taking out of the oven let it rest for about 10 minutes.  This serves  6 at 196 calories each.  ENJOY!!

The Teacher Cooks

12 Comments

Filed under Cooking, Pork Roast, Pork tenderloin, Recipes

The Best Ever Chocolate Sheet Cake

A Chocolate Lovers Dream!!

A Chocolate Lovers Dream!!

The last two days here have been bad!!  I am praying for all the families that have lost loved ones in this horrible rain. We have been very blessed, but I can tell you first hand what it is like to have your house flooded.  It is just stuff, though.  Anyway…….. We need something to make us all feel better so let’s talk chocolate.  This is my GO TO dessert for company, ALTA, potluck, parties and brunch.  You get the picture. It works for most any event.  I promise you all your friends and family will love it!!!

I first became acquainted with this special cake when I was a new teacher in Wilkinson County. Marjoe Baisden gave me her version.  Since then I have tweaked it a bit.  So here it is for you to just put your face into it if you want to.  That is what GI Joe wants to do every time that I make it.  He likes it hot with vanilla ice cream, but I have seen him eat right out of the pan with a spoon.

Yummy Chocolate Sheet Cake

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups self rising flour
  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix dry ingredients.  In saucepan melt butter, cocoa and water on low heat.  Add to dry ingredients. Mix. (DO NOT use a mixer)   Slightly beat eggs, buttermilk and vanilla.  Add to mixture.  Mix. Pour into a 15 x 10 x 1 in. jelly roll pan that has been greased and floured. Bake about 20 min. at 400 degrees.

Frosting

  • 1 stick butter
  • 3 Tablespoons cocoa
  • 5 Tablespoons milk
  • 1 box powdered sugar
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Melt butter, cocoa, and milk.  Do this on low heat.  If heated at too high a temperature the butter will clarify making your icing  separate.  Add to sugar and nuts.  Mix.  Frost cake while hot.  Place icing by the  tablespoon all over the cake then smooth out the frosting.  This will keep  from tearing the cake as you frost it.   Here are pictures to guide you along.  Enjoy!

Flour and sugar in a mixing bowl

Flour and sugar in a mixing bowl

Melting butter, water and cocoa

Melting butter, water and cocoa

Greased and floured jelly roll pan

Greased and floured jelly roll pan

Melted butter, cocoa and water

Melted butter, cocoa and water

Whisking eggs, buttermilk and vanilla

Whisking eggs, buttermilk and vanilla

Mixing dry and wet ingredients

Mixing dry and wet ingredients

Ready to bake

Ready to bake

Frosting - melting butter and cocoa

Frosting - melting butter and cocoa

Powdered sugar, chocolate and nuts for frosting

Powdered sugar, chocolate and nuts for frosting

Chocolate Icing

Chocolate Icing

Cooked cake

Cooked cake

Ready to dig into!!!

Ready to dig into!!!

26 Comments

Filed under Cake, Chocolate, Cooking, Dessert, Recipes, Sheet Cake

Tomato Okra Casserole— Summer’s Ending!!!!

This is sooo good!!!

This is sooo good!!!

This is going to be the  last of tomatoes and okra for a while.  At least fresh!   The Alabama girl gave me this delicious recipe.  She and I taught together for 3 1/2 years.  She is a great teacher and a great cook.  I miss her terribly,but that is another story.  Anyway,  last year we had a potluck dinner and she brought this dish and I am going to share it with you.

I get fresh vegetables from the CSA in our area and had a pound of okra to work with.  If you do not have fresh okra frozen will work. 

Tomato Okra Casserole

  • 6 Tbl. onion chopped
  • 2Tbl. Bacon grease
  • 1/4 t. curry powder
  • 1/4 t. red pepper
  • 2 1/2 T Parmesean Cheese
  • 1 qt. tomatoes peeled cooked or canned
  • 1/2 t paprika
  • 1  T sugar
  • 1 1/2 t salt
  • 8 Ritz crackers crushed

Saute onions in bacon grease.

Her is how I got the bacon grease.  Save the bacon for later.

Here is how I got the bacon grease. Save the bacon for later.

 

Sauteing onions

Sauteing onions

Add okra and cook until tender.

Add okra and cook until tender.

Add tomatoes and seasonings.  Stir well.

Add tomatoes and seasonings. Stir well.

 

Put in greased casserole

Put in greased casserole

Top with cheese and crackers.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes.  You are going to love this!!!  The okra is not slimy it is just plain good. 

Happy cooking,

The Teacher Cooks

10 Comments

Filed under Cooking, Recipes, Tomatoes & Okra

BISCUITS Made from Scratch

WOW!

WOW!

Biscuits made from scratch are in most households a lost art.  I teach that skill for many reasons.  Homemade biscuits are good, better than canned and frozen ones.  They are cheap to make.  You can put them together in no time.  They are versatile.  And most importantly it makes you feel good about yourself when someone says ” You made this?  WOW ! I am impressed. ”  So today my students were given the task of making homemade biscuits and surprisingly they did very well.  This is not the easiest thing to do if you have never handled biscuit dough before.  It is hard to judge how much milk to add and how many times to knead the dough.  Usually there will be one disaster out the classes , but not today.  They all did pretty well.  I will have to brag on second block.  They were all super.

So how do you put these things together.  Really it is quite easy and very quick.  It just may take a few times to get the knack of it.  My first biscuits were not edible so there is hope!!   Always use WHITE LILY self rising flour and CRISCO.  I am not advertising for White Lily flour, but this is the only kind that works for me.  I use the recipe that is on the package.  You cannot go wrong.

  • 2 cups of White Lily self-rising flour
  • 1/4 cup Crisco
  • 2/3 cup – 3/4 cup milk

 

Using a pastry blender cut shortening in flour

Using a pastry blender cut shortening in flour

 

Using a pastry blender cut Crisco into flour until it is about the size of small peas.  This makes the biscuits tender and flaky.

Add milk and stir with a fork

Add milk and stir with a fork

Do not add all the milk at once.  The amount to humidity in the air will determine  the milk you will need.  The dough should be stirred with a fork and it should pull away from the sides of the bowl.  Pour on wax paper with flour.  Sprinkle a little flour on top to keep it from being sticky and put flour on your hands.  Knead the dough for 4 to 6 times.  The dough should be smooth and spongy. These two things are important when making biscuits :  1.  Do not handle the dough too much and 2.  Do not add too much flour when kneading.  Flatten out with your hands to a thickness of 1/2 inch and cut out with a biscuit cutter or something with an open end that will not trap air and cut smoothly.   

Cutting out biscuits

Cutting out biscuits

Place the biscuits flour side in the bottom of a slightly greased pan. Bake at 500 degrees for 10 min. 

Ready to bake

Ready to bake

That’s all there is to it.  Just give it a try.  Then practice and then practice again.   Now here are the results of today’s bake off!!

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Filed under Biscuits, Cooking, Recipes

Waffles

Here you are again!

This is GOOD!

Here you are again!

Here you are again!

Piled High and Ready to Eat!

Piled High and Ready to Eat!

I could not choose one for the top of the post today so you all three have the honors.  Great job.

Between pancakes and waffles, waffles win everytime for me.  I love the crunchy ones sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar.  Reminds me of a funnel cake. Yum !  Today I was living the tasters best life.  These were sooo good.

Yesterday I was a little worried during the demonstration.  It was almost a catastrophe.  Let me just tell you that last semester some good intentioned student cleaned the waffle iron  a little too good.  Not knowing this I  poured my waffle batter in there  like I always do.  Waited the appropriate time.  Opened it up and in front of God and everyone was a mess of stuck batter.  For a minute there I thought I would faint.  I turned this into a “teachable moment”  and we had a lesson on seasoning a waffle iron.  Using a pastry brush or paper towel coat the waffle iron top and bottom with vegetable oil.  Turn on for about 15 minutes.  To make the class even better  one of my “thinking ahead” students said she thought we should season all 8 of our waffle irons.  GREAT IDEA!

So today went without a hitch.  What can I say ?  But,  I have some great students that are loving this cooking.

Here is what they cooked up today.

Happy Cooking,
The Teacher Cooks

Good Job!

Good Job!

Looks Yummy!

Looks Yummy!

Strawberries added the touch!

Strawberries added the touch!

Smiley!!

Smiley!!

Great Waffles!

Great Waffles!

Just 4 U!

Just 4 U!

Awesome!

Awesome!Good Looking!

So Cute!

So Cute!Just look at these they are GREAT!!!

6 Comments

Filed under Cooking, Recipes

FLUFFY PANCAKES

A little artwork here!

A little artwork here!

Just the smell of bacon and pancakes is GOOD!  The taste is even better.  It was a great day in the laboratory.  I love it, the power of “teacher persuasion”.  It is so funny sometimes how you can put a firecracker under students to get them motivated.  All of them worked so diligently today to beat the clock and they did!  Congratulations on a job well done.

I have tried many recipes for pancakes and coming from a make from scratch kind of cook this is not easy for me to say, but BISQUICK pancakes are the best. You can’t seem to go wrong with a little Betty Crocker.  I have been using this recipe for about 20 years in the classroom.  It is almost foolproof.  Alas, read my last paragraph and you can mess this up.

I used their website on my smartboard to show the recipe and to give tips for making pancakes.  It is a great way to start a demo.  I use a teflon skillet that will cook six pancakes at a time.  Along with this we discussed the labels on two different kinds of bacon and discovered how misleading they can be.  Who would have thought that companies would try to get us to purchase their product by fooling us????

As you can see from the photos they all turned out great.  To add a little extra each group invited an adult guest.  You know what that means–they have to talk!  Oh, wait they can do that well.  Table conversation with an adult is quite different.  It was all good though.  I was impressed.

One little”oops” that turned into a great learning experience.  I tasted a group’s pancakes that were quite horrible. I questioned them and “no ma’m we did not measure incorrectly .”  BUT looking at the box of Bisquick brought from home lo and behold the use by date was 2007. What can I say?   They made another recipe quite hurriedly and they were very good.

Another great day in my cooking world,

The Teacher Cooks

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Easy Danish – Our 2nd LAB

Easy to make!  Taste YUMMY!
Easy to make! Taste YUMMY!

Today was a learning experience all about judging cooking time.  The inexperienced cook has no conception of cooking time when it comes to baking.  In other words we had some Danish today to get a little on the “brown”  side.  BUT…It is all about learning.  Next time the little angels will know to check after 30 seconds when they aren’t quite ready and not wait two to three minutes. The majority of the Danish were very good. 

 

I did have to head  straight to the gym after tasting twelve of those yummy melt in your mouth  sweet things that go right to your hips.

While you are here  take a look at what we  cooked up in the kitchen today. 
Pictures are posted after the recipe.   The recipe  appeared on the Bisquick box awhile back.   Try it out!  EASY DANISH!!!
Easy Danish
  • 2 cups Bisquick
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1/4 cup margarine
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup fruit pie filling

Icing

  • 1 heaping cup powdered sugar
  • 2-3 T milk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  If using dark pan decrease by 25 degrees.  Lightly grease a cookie sheet.  Add 2 T sugar to Bisquick.  Cut in margarine into Bisquick with a fork.   Add milk and stir until blended.  Place a heaping tablespoon on the cookie sheet placing each mound  about 2 in. apart.  Makes 12.    Make a well with a spoon in each mound.  Fill with about a tablespoon of your favorite fruit pie filling.  Bake for 12 – 14 min. until lightly browned on the edges.   Mix 1 cup of powdered sugar with milk  adding a little at the time .  Being careful not to get the icing too runny.  It should be thick enough to drizzle from a spoon.  Drizzle on top of the Danish.  Serve hot.  

85 Comments

Filed under Cooking, Recipes