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I’m not sure if I mentioned this before, but Nate likes to have bread of some sort with dinner every night. He usually buys his beloved Trader Joe’s whole wheat dinner rolls, but every once in a while I like to make him something fresh.

When I was reading Martha Stewart Living magazine the other day, I came across this interesting-looking recipe for Potato Scones. I guess they were called scones because mashed potatoes were combined with flour to form a dough. But unlike typical bready scones, these were filled with cheese and pan fried, rather than baked.

I can’t think of anything that wouldn’t benefit from the addition of cheese and being fried in butter, so I figured I’d give them a try.

Man, these were so easy and SO delicious! You have to try them…seriously. I think they’d be an amazing use for leftover mashed potatoes, but I followed the recipe and boiled and mashed potatoes just for this recipe.

Nate and I both gave this one a giant thumbs up!

Potato Scones

Taken from Martha Stewart

Print from Martha’s site

Makes 8 scones

2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into large cubes (or 2.5 cups mashed)
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus 2 teaspoons for skillet
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 pound Tipperary cheese or sharp white cheddar, diced small (about 1/3 inch)
Directions

Bring potatoes to a boil in a pot of lightly salted water. Reduce heat, and simmer until fork tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain well.

While still warm, push potatoes through the large holes of a ricer, or use a potato masher to mash them until smooth (you should have 2 1/2 cups). Stir butter into warm potatoes until combined well. Stir together flour, baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, then stir into potatoes with a wooden spoon until just combined. Form dough into a ball on a lightly floured work surface. Cover with a dish towel, and let cool for 20 minutes.

Dust rolling pin and work surface with flour, and roll out dough to an 8-by-10-inch rectangle. Sprinkle half with cheese, and fold to create a 4-by-10-inch rectangle. Gently roll out. With a floured knife, cut dough into four 2 1/2-by-4-inch rectangles, then cut each in half diagonally.

Heat a griddle or a large cast-iron or non-stick skillet over medium heat, and add 1 teaspoon butter. When it has completely melted and is sizzling, cook 4 scones until golden brown and cheese melts, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Keep scones warm in a 200-degree oven while you cook the remaining dough.

Have you been looking for a way to use up the leftover buffalo sauce from the wings you made for Superbowl Sunday?

What! You bought wings?? If that’s the case, I’m honestly not sure why you’re reading a cooking blog. Homemade wings are one of THE easiest things to make.

I know, I didn’t used to think so either, but I have the BEST recipe for baked wings that will rival the fried ones at your favorite wings spot. I’ll have to share it sometime soon…

But, if you do have some leftover sauce (or just think this recipe looks so tasty that you want to go out and buy some), then this is the recipe for you.

I never really eat chicken wings but I made buffalo-style chicken thighs the other day and was reminded of how much I love buffalo sauce. Like, I could eat straight spoonfuls of it. Yum.

But even with my wing-making and straight-sauce-eating, there was still a bit left at the bottom of the bottle. So when I saw this recipe the other day, I knew I had to make it.

I wanted to healthify it a bit, so I added some chopped broccoli. And I shredded the chicken because I hate giant chunks of chicken in pasta.

It has the basic delicious, creamy mac n’ cheese taste with a hint of an undiscernable kick to it. You definitely should pour drizzle some more buffalo sauce on top when it comes out of the oven if you like it as much as I do. Nate just ate it as-is which is totally fine too.

Make this tonight!


Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese with Broccoli

Adapted from How Sweet It Is

Print here!

serves 4-6

1 pound pasta
2 cups shredded, cooked chicken breast (about 2.5 large boneless breasts)
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoon flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 + 1/3 cup freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese + more for topping
10 oz. package of frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
1/2 cup buffalo wing sauce (I used Frank’s Red Hot)+ more for topping
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs

salt and pepper to taste

for garnish: 3/4 cup chopped green onions, 1/2 cup gorgonzola cheese, additional buffalo wing sauce

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Prepare water for pasta and cook according to directions. Put drained pasta back in pot.

While pasta is cooking, heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the butter, and once it’s melted and bubbly add the flour. Whisk together to create a roux and cook for 1-2 minutes until mixture gets a bit golden in color.

Add milk. Bring to a boil and whisk constantly until it thickens. Continue stirring until milk thickens. Add in grated cheese and continue to stir until mixture is smooth. Stir in buffalo wing sauce. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.

Spray a baking dish (9 x 13 is fine) with non-stick spray.

Add chicken and broccoli into pot with pasta, then pour cheese sauce over and mix throughly until everything is coated. Pour mixture into baking dish. Sprinkle with additional grated cheese and bread crumbs.

Bake for 25 minutes or until cheese is golden brown. Remove from oven and immediately top with gorgonzola and green onions. Drizzle with buffalo wing sauce.

It was about time for a Daring Bakers Challenge that was more fun and less annoying/frustrating/want-to-throw-all-my-baking-supples-out-the-window.

For January we were put to the scone making test! Although in this case, “scone” meant the European scone, which is actually called a biscuit in America. And biscuits in America are scones in Europe.

Backwards, right?

Anyway, we were allowed to put whatever fixins’ we wanted into the mix and I went with dill and cheddar, since I had both in my fridge. They suggested to use chives and cheddar but i’m glad I went with dill.

I served it alongside the veggie soup from the other night and they were just perfect…flaky, fluffy, flavorful, cheesy. Make these tonight!

Blog-checking lines: Audax Artifex was our January 2012 Daring Bakers’ host. Aud worked tirelessly to master light and fluffy scones (a/k/a biscuits) to help us create delicious and perfect batches in our own kitchens!


Cheddar Dill Biscuits

Print this recipe!

Makes 5-8 depending on biscuit size

Recipe can be doubled

Ingredients:
1 cup (240 ml) (140 gm/5 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
2 teaspoons (10 ml) (10 gm) (⅓ oz) fresh baking powder
¼ teaspoon (1¼ ml) (1½ gm) salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp mustard powder
2 tablespoons (30 gm/1 oz) frozen grated butter (or a combination of lard and butter)
approximately ½ cup (120 ml) cold milk
1/2 cup grated cheese
2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
optional 1 tablespoon milk, for glazing the tops of the scones

Preheat oven to very hot 475°F/240°C/gas mark 9.

Triple sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl. (If your room temperature is very hot refrigerate the sifted ingredients until cold.)

Rub the frozen grated butter (or combination of fats) into the dry ingredients until it resembles very coarse bread crumbs with some pea-sized pieces if you want flaky scones or until it resembles coarse beach sand if you want tender scones.

Add nearly all of the liquid at once into the rubbed-in flour/fat mixture and mix until it just forms a sticky dough (add the remaining liquid if needed). The wetter the dough the lighter the scones (biscuits) will be! Mix in cheese and dill.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board, lightly flour the top of the dough. To achieve an even homogeneous crumb to your scones knead very gently about 4 or 5 times (do not press too firmly) the dough until it is smooth. To achieve a layered effect in your scones knead very gently once (do not press too firmly) then fold and turn the kneaded dough about 3 or 4 times until the dough has formed a smooth texture. (Use a floured plastic scraper to help you knead and/or fold and turn the dough if you wish.)

Pat or roll out the dough into a 6 inch by 4 inch rectangle by about ¾ inch thick (15¼ cm by 10 cm by 2 cm thick). Using a well-floured 2-inch (5 cm) scone cutter (biscuit cutter), stamp out without twisting six 2-inch (5 cm) rounds, gently reform the scraps into another ¾ inch (2 cm) layer and cut two more scones (these two scones will not raise as well as the others since the extra handling will slightly toughen the dough). Or use a well-floured sharp knife to form squares or wedges as you desire.

Place the rounds spaced widely apart on the baking dish. Glaze the tops with milk if you want a golden colour on your scones or lightly flour if you want a more traditional look to your scones.

Bake in the preheated very hot oven for about 10 minutes (check at 8 minutes since home ovens at these high temperatures are very unreliable) until the scones are well risen and are lightly coloured on the tops. The scones are ready when the sides are set.

Immediately place onto cooling rack to stop the cooking process, serve while still warm.

Ok, no more pasta recipes for now.

In fact, I’m switching to an entirely different food category. No more dinner…on to snacks! Everyone likes snacks.

I made these little beauties as a appetizer before our New Year’s Dinner.

These taste exactly like Cheez-its. I know they don’t look the same but I promise they taste identical.

I adapted this recipe from Food52- The original recipe called for smoked paprika but I didn’t have any and didn’t feel like buying any so I used regular old paprika. I’m sure the smoked one would have added a different taste but then they would have tasted like smoked Cheez-its and that’s not quite the same.

I added quite a bit of cayenne as well. I loved how spicy they were but Nate wasn’t such a fan of his mouth tingling, so go easy on it if you have a sensitive fiance.

My only issue with these adorable little things is that they’re so tiny that rolling the dough into like 40 little balls is kinda of time consuming…and annoying. But if you have them time, then it’s totally worth it.

**UPDATE! A reader suggested rolling the dough into a log and refrigerating it until firm and then slicing into rounds…way less time-consuming than the ball method. I’d prob recommend letting the rounds cook a little longer, though, if you put them into the oven while still cold.

I hope you’re having company over soon because you need to make these! Or maybe you just want a snack. Either is fine.


Cheese Crackers

Barely Adapted from Food52

Print this recipe!

Makes about 40

1 cup all purpose flour, sifted
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon paprika (or more to taste)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (or more to taste)
1 cup Panko bread crumbs (I used whole wheat panko)-*note these are not regular breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 350 and line cookie sheets with parchment.

Put flour, butter, cheese, cayenne, paprika and salt into food processor and pulse till completely blended and a ball forms. Taste for seasoning and adjust.

Add panko and process in small pulses (as few as possible) to incorporate panko into dough.

Scoop small balls of dough (about 1/2 teaspoon) and roll in the palm of your hand (**or use other method mentioned above!). Place on cookie sheet and flatten with fork or spatula. (You can also roll the dough out about 1/2 inch thick and use small cookie cutters.) Sprinkle the tops with smoked paprika and more salt if desired.

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes until the bottom is lightly browned and the crispettes are cooked through.

Remove from cookie sheet and cool on wire rack.

Do you ever have one of those days where you get home late and have to cook dinner, blog, do more work, watch a dvr-ed show, give your cat attention so she doesn’t meow all night AND get to bed at a decent hour? Is that too much to ask for?!

Obviously I’ve been having quite a few of those days (as you may have figured out from Black Bean Burger post, my evenings are short on time), and it’s really starting to get to me. I thought of trying to eliminate some items off my list of things to do, but the only really optional item is the tv, and even that isn’t a choice…I mean a girl needs to have some time to just chill and decompress, right?

So I decided if i can’t eliminate any of my tasks, perhaps I could at least make them easier. Time-saving.

I made a dinner that came together in about 5 minutes, and while it does have to bake for 45 minutes, those are 45 minutes that you can be working on your blog, etc. So it’s a win-win situation.

This meal isn’t quite what you’d think of as a nutritious meal, but it has carbs, protein and veggies so it’s really pretty darn good! It uses processed cheese (Velveeta) but you could easily substitute fresh shredded cheddar. It won’t have the same consistency or be nearly as good, but you could do it :)

It uses Minute Rice, aka the smartest invention ever. Minute Rice, also known as instance rice,  is rice that has been pre-cooked and dehydrated so that it cooks more rapidly. While regular rice takes about 20 minutes to cook, instant rice only takes about 5-10 minutes. Because it has already been cooked, all that is necessary to prepare instant rice is to simply re-hydrate it with hot water.

While I wouldn’t necessarily recommend eating this as straight-up rice (although I’ve never tried it), putting it in a casserole is ideal.

Now that I’ve saved you time on dinner, go watch that show you dvr-ed…you deserve it ;)

Broccoli, Ham, Cheese and Rice Casserole
Adapted from Cooking Light (11/99)

Print this recipe!

Serves 4 (as a main dish)

Ingredients:
1 cup uncooked instant rice (brown or white)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup fat-free milk
4 ounces light processed cheese, cubed (such as Velveeta Light)
2 tablespoons butter or stick margarine, softened
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and drained
1/2 pack of deli ham, chopped (or as much as desired)
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed reduced-fat, reduced-sodium cream of mushroom soup, undiluted

Preheat oven to 350°

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, and spoon into a 2-quart casserole. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes.