Easy Dill Pickle Focaccia Bread

Easy Dill Pickle Focaccia Bread.

Calling all bread lovers!

Calling all dill pickle lovers!

Calling all lovers of easy recipes that rock!

My cousin, who I affectionately refer to as “Oh Rob,” recently shared this recipe he made for his pickle-loving grandson.  Oh Rob loves to bake bread, and he loves his grandson even more!  This recipe was a match made in heaven for these two.

The idea really intrigued me and sounded so good. I knew I had to try it.

We are a dill pickle lovin’ family too.

And who doesn’t love bread?!

So I ever so slightly adapted the recipe and made it this past Sunday for dinner to serve along with spaghetti.  We loved it!

Give it a try, and let me know what you think.  Here is how I made it.

Easy Dill Pickle Focaccia Bread

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup warm water (105-110°F)
  • 1/4 cup pickle juice, warmed (105-110°F)
  • 2 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 (1/4-oz.) envelope active dry yeast
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. dried dill weed or 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 large dill pickles, sliced or chopped
  • Optional: 1 Tbsp. Maldon Sea Salt Flakes
Directions:

Combine warm water, warm pickle juice, sugar, and yeast in a medium bowl or measuring cup. Let stand 10 minutes.

Whisk together flour, dill, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Add pickle juice mixture and 2 tablespoons of the oil; stir until combined and dough begins to pull away from sides of bowl. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and stretchy.

Drizzle 1 teaspoon of the oil in the bowl to coat; add dough, and turn to coat. Cover with towel, and let stand in a warm place until dough has doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 425°F.  Punch down dough. Place on a lightly oiled 18- x 13-inch rimmed baking stone sheet. Press and stretch dough to edges of baking sheet. Cover with towel, and let stand in a warm place 15 minutes.

Using the end of a wooden spoon, make indentions evenly over dough. Top evenly with cheese and pickles.  Bake until lightly golden and cooked through,  approximately 20 minutes.

Sprinkle top with sea salt flakes, if desired. 

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

PS  I will be taking a holiday blogging break until after Christmas and the New Year.  Wishing you all the joy of this festive season!

Pecan Pie Thumbprint Cookies

Pecan Pie Thumbprint Cookies.

It’s December, and that means time to start Christmas cookie baking!

These cookies are a wonderful version of pecan pie in a cookie!

They are similar to Pecan Tassies, but a lot easier.

The cookie is buttery and shortbread-like, while the filling is nutty and sticky and sweet and AMAZING!

I had a little bit of extra filling left that I just couldn’t throw away, so I spread it on a sheet of crescent roll dough, rolled it up, and sliced it into 8 easier-than-pie pecan “sticky buns!”

So
worth
it!

Hope you will give these yummy cookies a try for something new on your Christmas cookie baking list.  I do believe these will become a regular in our home!

Here is the recipe I found at  Crazy for Crust, which I only slightly altered.  Thanks for a great recipe, Dorothy!

Pecan Pie Thumbprint Cookies

Ingredients:

Cookie Batter:

  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Pecan Pie Filling:

  • 2 cups pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. coarse or flaked salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 4-5 Tbsp. Half and Half or Heavy Cream
  • 2 tsp. vanilla

Optional:  Powdered sugar for sprinkling on top of cooled cookies.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Beat brown sugar, butter, egg, and vanilla in electric mixer until creamy.   Add in baking powder, salt, and flour, and mix on low speed until well combined.

Shape dough, two tablespoons at a time, into balls, and place the balls two inches apart on a baking stone or cookie sheet.  Indent a hole in center with your thumb.

Prepare filling by stirring pecans, salt, brown sugar, and vanilla with cream until it forms a thick mixture.  Spoon approximately one teaspoonful into thumb indentation of each cookie.

Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Cool for 5 minutes on stone or cookie sheet before removing to rack to cool completely.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.

Cookies freeze well for up to a month.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Pumpkin Spice Sugar Cookies

Pumpkin Spice Sugar Cookies.

It’s that time of year…

Time for baking things with pumpkin and spice and everything nice!

Though I almost always have my “almost-famous” chocolate chip cookies in the freezer,
these cookies just suit this time of year so perfectly.

Our gang loved them!  Hope you will too.

Here is the recipe as I very slightly adapted from the beautiful blog:  A Family Feast:

Pumpkin Spice Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup dark molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup pureed pumpkin
  • Dash salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups Sugar in the Raw Turbinado Cane Sugar

Directions:

Cream butter, sugar, and molasses with electric mixer 3-4 minutes until fluffy.  Add egg, followed by pumpkin, beating until mixed.

Slowly add in salt, baking powder and flour on low speed just until incorporated.

Divide dough into four logs, approximately 8 inches long.  Wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate several hours or overnight.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Pour Turbinado cane sugar into a shallow dish or pie plate.

Unwrap one log of dough at a time.

Roll log into sugar to coat.

Cut log into quarters.  Then cut each quarter into thirds.

Put cookie slices in sugar, coating both sides.

Place sugared cookie slices on baking stone or cookie sheet, and bake for approximately 12 minutes.

Remove from oven, and allow cookies to cool on baking stones/cookie sheets for 10 minutes before transferring to cooling racks to cool completely. 

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Cranberry Jalapeno Holiday Dip

Cranberry Jalapeno Holiday Dip.

When I was asked to bring an appetizer to my new Daughter-in-Law, Liz’s family Thanksgiving, I knew I had to make this after being told by my BFF, Jill that everyone was “jonesing it” when she made it for a party.

First I had to laugh at our 50+ year old selves using urban slang, then I had to make it and see if it was so!

Well – Yep!  It was a hit! One sister asked if the recipe was on the blog, because she wanted it (here it is Laura!), and another said she normally doesn’t like salsas, but she really liked it.

It is sweet, and it is spicy. It is crunchy, and it is creamy. All of this in a bite!

Thumbs up from all, except for hubby, who said it was… meh… He preferred the other appetizer I made – Pumpkin Pecan Baked Brie – which was pretty amazing too!

But will you make this and let me know and prove him wrong? <wink>

So secret revealed here.  I did not take pictures of the batch I made for Thanksgiving, so I made it again this past week just to get pictures <whistles and rolls eyes… not owning up to the fact that I ate a quarter of it for lunch one day…..>

And guess what else I did with it this week?  I made a leftover cold turkey sandwich and slathered some of this on the Smart Bun first.  YUM!  Who knew it would make a great turkey sandwich spread too??!!

This will be a hit at any holiday gathering, and it is so easy and pretty!  Here is the recipe as I slightly tweaked from a recipe I found through Pinterest:

Cranberry Jalapeno Holiday Dip

Ingredients:1 12oz. bag fresh cranberries

  • 1/3 cup sliced green onions
  • 1/4 cup sliced jalapeno pepper slices in a jar (or 1-2 fresh if you like it HOT!)
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
  • Juice of 1 fresh lemon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 16 oz. cream cheese, softened

Directions:

Chop cranberries (I used the Pampered Chef Food Chopper, and it worked wonderfully, but you can also chop by hand.  Do not put in a food processor as they will become too mushy), and place in a medium bowl.  Add chopped green onions, jalapenos, cilantro, lemon juice, salt, and sugar, and stir gently, but well.

Cover, and let refrigerate overnight.

When ready to serve, strain or squeeze liquid from cranberry relish.

Spread cream cheese in bottom of a pie plate or serving dish.  Top with cranberry relish mixture.

Serve with crackers, tortilla chips, pita chips, celery sticks, or your favorite “dipper.”

Enjoy, and let me know if you and your friends are jonesing it too!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Four Cheese Garlic Spaghetti Squash

Four Cheese Garlic Spaghetti Squash.

I have always enjoyed spaghetti squash, but now that I have discovered this recipe…….. well…. now I LOOOVVVEE spaghetti squash!

This is absolutely the most amazing way to eat it!

Imagine a version of mac ‘n cheese without the macaroni carbs or calories and replaced with healthy spaghetti squash “noodles.”  (Macaroni carbs 78g/cup vs. Spaghetti Squash carbs 7g/cup – Macaroni calories 221/cup vs. Spaghetti Squash calories 31/cup!)

But…… it also has the most amazing flavor, you won’t even miss your macaroni!

When I saw a recipe at Eatwell101 for this amazingness, I knew I had to try.  I tweaked it up a bit, and here is how I made it.

Hope you will give it a try!  You won’t be sorry!

Four Cheese Garlic Spaghetti Squash

Ingredients

  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups Half and Half
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. chicken base or 1 chicken bouillon cube, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme (or 1 Tbsp. fresh thyme)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped scallions or green onions
  • 1 cup freshly shredded cheese – I used the following combination:
    • 1/4 cup Mozarella
    • 1/4 cup White Cheddar
    • 1/4 cup Parmesan
    • 1/4 cup Gruyere

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut both ends off of spaghetti squash and cut in half lengthwise.  Scrape out seeds.  Place both halves in a 9×13 baking dish flesh side up.  Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper.

Combine half and half, garlic, chicken base (or bouillon), thyme, and scallions in a small bowl.

Sprinkle half of shredded cheese in the cavities of each halved squash.  Pour half of cream mixture into each squash half.  Top with remaining shredded cheese.

Roast for 40 mins, or until squash flesh is tender when poked with a fork.

Remove from oven and carefully scrape squash from skin with a fork creating spaghetti “noodles.”  Mix well with cheese and cream, and serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Apricot Glazed Pork Tenderloin

Apricot Glazed Pork Tenderloin.

Pork lovers get ready to swooooon!  This might be the most delicious way I have ever prepared pork tenderloin!

I made this yummy recipe earlier this week to go with the Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Apples I featured HERE.

It was like a match made in Yum Yum Heaven!  I have to admit I moaned a few times eating it!

Hope you give it a try!

Apricot Glazed Pork Tenderloin*

Ingredients

  • 1 pork tenderloin (approx. 1 1/2 lbs)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 Tbsp dried thyme
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth/stock
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh rosemary
  • 2 Tbsp apricot preserves (heaping)
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce (as much as I LOVE salt, I always recommend low-sodium soy sauce)
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Melt butter and a drizzle of olive oil in a large oven-safe skillet.  When hot, add tenderloin(s).  Liberally season pork with salt and pepper and dried thyme.   Sear the pork on all sides.

When pork is beautifully seared and browned all over, add wine and chicken broth/stock to the skillet.  Cover and place in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 140 degrees F.

Remove pork and place on cutting board.  Cover with aluminum foil, and let rest for 5 minutes.

In skillet, add apricot jam, Dijon mustard, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and rosemary.  Cook over low heat for 4-5 minutes allowing the glaze to thicken.

Slice pork tenderloin and drizzle glaze over top.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

*Original recipe found at AGoudaLife.com.

Blueberry Streusel Coffee Cake

Blueberry Streusel Coffee Cake.

What is a girl to do when a bestie friend comes home after a long time away?!

Well…. run over and visit and hug as soon as possible!  Right?!

But you can’t go empty handed!

So – what to bake to take?  I needed something quick, but yummy, that my sweet friend Janet and her Mom and Dad would enjoy…

I had some amazing fresh blueberries in the fridge I had recently bought at a local farm market, so I decided to make a blueberry cake.

And OH was it yummy!  (I know because I kept half for hubby and me and took half to them.  She is that kind of friend!  The best kind – that you can take half a cake to – LOL!)

I arrived just in time to serve it to them for dessert!

Oh the joy of friendship!  Oh the joy of baking and sharing!

Make this for yourself!  Make this to give away!  But make this amazing Blueberry Streusel Coffee Cake today!  (oh dear – am I still rhyming?! )

Welcome home sweet Janet!  Looking forward to our time together.

Here is the recipe I made as I adapted from LifeLoveandSugar:

Blueberry Streusel Coffee Cake

Ingredients:

Streusel:

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 6 Tbsp. salted butter, melted

Cake:

  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 6 Tbsp. salted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sour cream (light sour cream works fine)
  • 1/4 cup milk (I used Skim)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries

Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. milk

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Prepare an 8-9 inch cake pan by greasing bottom and sides with shortening and then placing a circle of parchment paper in the bottom.

Prepare streusel by combining ingredients in a medium bowl with a fork.  Set aside.

Prepare cake batter by beating sugar and butter in electric mixer for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy.  Add sour cream and milk  until well incorporated.  Add egg and vanilla.  Finally, add baking powder, then flour just until thoroughly combined.

Spread half of the batter in prepared pan.  Top with half of the streusel mixture, then  3/4 cup blueberries.  Repeat batter, streusel, then 1 cup blueberries.

Bake for approximately 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Cool in pan for 20 minutes, then remove from pan.

Prepare glaze by  by combining powdered sugar and milk until a glaze consistency is achieved.  Add more powdered sugar or milk as needed.

Drizzle cooled cake with glaze, and top with remaining 1/4 cup fresh blueberries.

Serve warm or cold – plain or with a scoop of ice cream or whipped cream!

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Caramel M&M Cookies

Caramel M&M Cookies.

Have you tried the new Caramel M&Ms yet?

O. M. Geeeee!

I would never have believed the Mars Candy Company could made an M&M better than my favorite – Peanut.

My sons love the Peanut Butter M&Ms, and I know they make Crispy and Pretzel and Dark Chocolate, and of course the good old standby – Plain – but these Caramel M&Ms….

They are just the Rock Stars of the family!  The cat’s meow… The bee’s knees.. The bomb dot com!

Once hubby talked me into buying a bag and we tried, I knew I had to make cookies out of these little gems of heavenly deliciousness!

And they did not disappoint!  I made them for a picnic this past weekend, and it’s a good thing I took them all, because I might not be able to resist these babies!

I used my standard chocolate chip cookie recipe – replacing the chocolate chunks with the Caramel M&Ms.  Simple – but oh so delightful!

Give them a try!  Let me know if you agree.

Caramel M&M Cookies

  • Servings: 4 dozen large cookies
  • Print

Ingredients:

4 sticks (1 lb.) butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
5 cups all purpose flour
2 9.6oz bags Caramel M&M Candies

Directions:

With electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together until completely incorporated. Add vanilla and eggs, and beat until light and fluffy. Add baking soda and salt, and mix another minute. Gradually add flour and beat until well incorporated, but do not overbeat.

Fold in Caramel M&M Candies.  Refrigerate dough for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. With your hands, form a cookie dough ball about 1-1/2 inches in diameter.  Place on baking stone. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Do not overbake. Allow to cool on baking stone for 5-10 minutes, then remove to cooling rack to cool completely.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

#MadewithM

I am not being paid by M&Ms to promote them, though I wish I was!  

Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Chicken Salad

Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Chicken Salad.

On warm Summer days, salads are so great for dinner!

And there are so many fresh ingredients available to mix and match.

I had some fresh Brussels Sprouts and thought they might work great in a dinner salad.

They are so delicious roasted simply with olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper.

Then all you have to do is add your favorite greens to a bowl and top with some yummy, healthy additions of fruit and nuts and cheese and protein and more veggies.

The grand finale topping is the roasted Brussels sprouts and a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette.  It is a full meal deal covering all the  bases!

Here’s the recipe for the way I made it, but feel free to mix and match and tweak it up to how you like.   Roasted Brussels sprouts are a great addition to any salad!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Chicken Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. Brussels sprouts
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Chopped Romaine lettuce or your favorite mixed greens
  • 1/4 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (or almonds or pecans)
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins (or dried cranberries or cherries)
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (or your favorite)
  • 1 grilled chicken breast, sliced
  • Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing (or your favorite)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut stems off Brussels sprouts, then cut into quarters.  In mixing bowl, combine Brussels sprouts, olive oil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.  Pour into baking pan and roast approximately 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In a bowl, add lettuce.  On top of lettuce, add carrots, nuts, raisins, cheese, and chicken.  Top with a half cup of Roasted Brussels sprouts (or as many as you like – leftovers are always delish too!)

Pour dressing on top, then mix.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi2

Easy Skinny Zucchini Pasta Caprese

Easy Skinny Zucchini Pasta Caprese.

I bought a few zucchini recently itching to use my Spiralizer again, and I created this super easy, wicked fast, uber healthy, gloriously delicious lunch that came together in 10 minutes.   Seriously!

I spiralized two small/medium zucchini to create the “pasta” and tossed them in a skilled with some minced garlic and a dash of red pepper flakes sizzling in olive oil.  After just a few minutes. I tossed in some chopped fresh basil, chopped campari tomatoes, and some grated Parmesan cheese.

After I poured it from the skillet to my bowl, I sprinkled it with some fresh black pepper and flaked sea salt.    That’s it!

And it was absolutely amazing!  You will seriously question if you are eating fresh pasta!   I can’t wait to make it again and again this summer when I am able to pick the fresh produce right from my yard.

Here’s the simple recipe I came up with:

Easy Skinny Zucchini Pasta Caprese

  • Servings: 1 as main course, 2 as side dish
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 2 small/medium zucchini, spriral sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Dash red pepper flakes
  • 3-4 Campari tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions:

Spiralize zucchini.

Heat olive oil in stir fry skillet.  Add minced garlic and red pepper flakes.  After about a minute when oil begins to sizzle around garlic, add zucchini.  Cook for 3-4 minutes, tossing every minute or so.  Add chopped tomatoes, basil, and Parmesan.  Cook and toss for about 2 more minutes.

Pour into bowl or on plate.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi