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Monday, March 8, 2021

COOK: Four Bowl Cream Cheese Brownies

Since the kiddos were old enough to really think about their birthday ahead of time they have always asked for a dessert other than cake, and I love it, I've never been a big cake fan.  More often than not they ask for one of my famous brownie recipes, and I think this one is the favorite.

This is the only brownie recipe that I suggest using a mixer, and then only for the cream cheese mixture, brownies need to be mixed only until combined, you don't want to overmix your batter.

Four Bowl Cream Cheese Brownies


Cream Cheese Mixture:
4 Ounces Cream Cheese :(Softened)
1/2 Cup Sour Cream
2 Tablespoons Sugar
1 Table Spoon Flour
1/4 teaspoon Almond Extract (Can substitute Vanilla Extract)

Brownie Mixture:
4 Ounces Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate (Chopped)
8 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
2/3 Cup Flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Sugar
2 Large Eggs (Let them warm up a bit on the counter before using)
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract


Preheat oven to 325 Degrees.  Spray an 8 x 8 inch square pan.

In a medium bowl put your Cream Cheese, Sour Cream, Sugar, Flour, and Almond Extract.  Using a mixer beat until fully mixed and a bit fluffy.

Put you chopped Chocolate and Butter into a smaller microwavable bowl and microwave checking it every 20-30 seconds until fully melted.  Leave bowl in microwave to keep warm.

In a medium mixing bowl combine Flour, Baking Powder, and Salt.  Give it a quick whisk and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl combine the Sugar, Eggs, and Vanilla Extract, stir until well mixed.  Add in your chocolate butter mixture until all is incorporated.  Add in your dry ingredient mix, mix only until just combined and you can't see any dry flour.

Pour brownie mixture into prepared 8 x 8 inch pan, then add cream cheese mixture in large dollops on top.  Next, take a butter knife and drag it through your mixture so that the top looks marbled.

Bake from 50-60 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (try to find a part that is more brownie than cream cheese).

Let cool before cutting.  Store any leftovers in the fridge.

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Monday, February 22, 2021

COOK: One Hour French Bread

Over the last 4-5 years I have tried at least 10 French bread recipes, some were total failures, some worked sometimes but not all the time... you get the point.

When I found several recipes for one hour French bread I was very dubious, but I've made this 4 times now and it has turned out perfectly three times,  one time it didn't quite turn out but I've determined it was because KC was making his mom's Italian Sausage Tortellini Soup and I think the kitchen was a bit too humid (humidity is rare in Colorado, so if you live somewhere humid take that into account.)

One Hour French Bread


2 Cups Warm Water (105 degrees-110 degrees)
2 teaspoons Sugar
2 Tablespoons Yeast (Regular Active Dry Yeast, DO NOT use Rapid Rise or Bread Machine Yeast)
2 teaspoons Salt
3 Tablespoons Canola Oil
5 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour


In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer add Water, Sugar, and Yeast.  Let proof, or bloom, for about 10 minutes until yeast is frothy.

Add Salt, Canola Oil, and Flour, using the dough hook mix on low setting until combined, then turn up to medium and let continue to kneed until dough is smooth and slightly elastic looking.

Cover bowl with a warm (not hot) damp flour sack towel.  Let rise for 15 minutes, set a timer so it doesn't over-rise.  (if your kitchen is on the cooler side heat your oven to 150 degrees while mixing dough, turn off, place bowl in oven to rise.  I also think this will help if you kitchen is extra humid, however I haven't tested that theory yet.)

Prepare a baking sheet with either parchment paper or a silicon mat, (I use the Amazon Basics brand and love them, I don't get anything if you buy from this link, just sharing my favorites!)

Punch down dough, split in half, and then form each into a loaf shape, I just gently roll it and then tuck the ends underneath.  I'll try to post a video next time I make it.)

Cut 4-5 slits on top of each loaf.  Turn oven on to 375 degrees, let bread sit by the oven to rise, only let it rise for as long as it takes your oven to heat up.  (About 12 minutes.)

Bake for 23-25 minutes, it should be a golden brown, and if you knock on it it will sound hollow.

I keep ours in the fridge so it lasts longer, although it's usually gone pretty quickly.  

It's great for French Bread Pizza, we add sauce, cheese, and our favorite toppings (pepperoni, jalapenos, olives, etc) and bake it at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes.

We also like this with the following recipes:

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Monday, February 8, 2021

COOK: Italian Sausage Tortellini Soup

For years KC has talked about his mom's Tortellini Soup, but he thought he'd lost the recipe.  Recently we were going though our cook books and we found the recipe in Story, Wyoming's Centennial Community Cookbook 1901-2001, a cookbook full of recipes from people living in the tiny mountain town of Story, Wyoming.  (This recipe is on page 14, Tortellini Soup by Jeannie Andreason)

I don't normally post a recipe unless it's one I've created or made major changes to, however I think Jeannie would be happy for me to share this with all of you.  (I did change the amount of garlic, we love garlic and almost always use more than a recipe calls for.)

This soup is delicious, hearty and filling, and it freezes well (which is good because it makes at lot!)

Italian Sausage Tortellini Soup


2 Lbs. Ground Italian Sausage (you can use sweet, mild, or spicy)
4 Cloves Garlic (Chopped)
1 Medium Onion (Chopped)
6 Cups Beef Broth
1 Cup Water
4 Cups Canned Diced Tomatoes (Drained)
3 1/2 Cups Tomato Sauce
2-3 Large Carrots (Peeled and Chopped)
2 Tablespoons Dried Oregano
3 teaspoons Dried Basil
2 Tablespoons Dried Parsley
1 Bay Leaf (Remove before serving)
1 Medium Zucchini (Chopped)
20 Ounces Cheese Filled Tortellini (Fresh or Frozen)
Grated Parmesan for garnish


In a large pot (we use our 6 Quart Round Dutch Oven), brown sausage, keeping it in large chunks.  Remove the meat and reserve 2 Tablespoons of the fat, sauté the onion and garlic in fat.  

Next, add all ingredients, except zucchini and  tortellini, and add the sausage back in.  Bring to a boil, then lower heat, simmer for 2-3 hours.  

About 45 minutes before serving add in zucchini and tortellini, continue to let simmer.  

Serve with grated parmesan on top.  Goes great with Crusty Artisan Bread or my One Hour French Bread.

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Monday, October 26, 2020

COOK: Sandwich Bread

 I know a lot of you have been waiting for this recipe, it's so easy, and tastes so much better than store bought, plus it's cheaper!  

Sandwich Bread


2 Cups Warm Water (About 100-100 degrees)
1 Tablespoon Yeast
2 Tablespoons Honey
2 teaspoons Salt
2 Tablespoons Canola Oil (Vegetable Oil will work too)
4 1/2-5 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour (White or Wheat, or a mixture of both)


I use my Kitchen Aid Mixer and the dough hook, if you do not have a stand mixer you can mix with a wooden spoon, and kneed by hand for twice as long.

In large mixing bowl combine Yeast, Honey, and Warm Water, let sit about 10 minutes until yeast has bloomed (it should be foamy and bubbly.)

Add in Salt, Oil, and 4 1/2 Cups of Flour.  Mix on low, until combined and not overly sticky (if still very sticky add four 1/2 cup at a time and mix.

Increase speed to to medium and let mix/kneed, for 5 minutes.  

Remove dough to a lightly oiled bowl, flip dough to cover all sides.  Cover and let rise about 1 hour until doubled in size.

Punch down and form into two loaves, place into two large loaf pans.  Cover with a flour sack towel or loose plastic wrap.  Let rise for 1 hour.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes, knock on the top and if it sounds hollow it's done.

Immediately remove from loaf pan to cool on a wire baking rack, if desired rub tops with butter.

Store in a sealed container or zippy bag for up to a week in the fridge.  Can also be frozen.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2020

COOK: Pasta Carbonara

My amazing friend Sarah, who blogs at Cloves & Buttons, has posted about Carbonara so many times I decided I needed to make it!

I looked at several different recipes, then asked Sarah for her "go-to" recipe, then made a "Frankenstein" recipe using what I had on hand, and bits and pieces of each recipe.  I was nervous, I thought I might end up with some sort of scrambled egg pasta, but it was amazing!

Pasta Carbonara


8 Ounces Bacon (chopped into 1/2 inch pieces)
4 Egg Yolks
1 Cup Fresh Grated Parmesan
3/4 Cups Heavy Cream (Or Half & Half)
Fresh Cracked Pepper
1 Package (1 Pound) Linguine or Fettuccine Noodles
*Reserve 1 Cup Pasta Water 


Boil water for pasta, salt well, add pasta and let boil.  Drain pasta when it's almost al dente.

Chop bacon into about 1/2 inch pieces, put into a large heavy bottomed pot (I love using my 5.5 quart oval enameled cast iron, but any large pot will work.)  Cook bacon until the edges are just starting to crisp, do not drain.

In a separate bowl, whisk together egg yolks, parmesan, and fresh cracked pepper.

Before draining pasta save 1 cup of the water.  Drain and set noodles aside.

Slowly add pasta water to egg, parmesan mixture while whisking (if you don't keep the whisk moving the water could cook the eggs.)  

Add the egg and cheese mixture to the pot with the bacon, mix until well combined, then add pasta and toss to fully coat.

Serve with more grated parmesan on top, goes great with a simple green salad.

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