Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Oktoberfest 2014!


From this post, you know how really far behind I am in my blog posts. :) Well, what can I say? Life has been busy, and I have been tired. So, while this post is four months late, you could also look at it as being eight months early...that gives you plenty of time to prepare yourself for this year's Oktoberfest, right?

Bavarian-Style Beef Roast and Sauerkraut


1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3-pound beef boneless tip roast, trimmed of fat
2 teaspoons caraway seed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 bag (16 ounces) frozen small whole onions
1 can (16 ounces) Bavarian-style sauerkraut, undrained
1/2 cup dark beer or beef broth
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon stone-ground mustard


Heat oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Cook beef in oil about 5 minutes or until brown on all sides. Sprinkle with caraway seed and salt.

Place beef in 5- to 6- quart slow cooker. Place onions, sauerkraut, and 1/4 cup of the beer (or beef broth) around beef.

Cover and cook on low heat setting 6-8 hours.

Remove beef from cooker; cover to keep warm. Mix flour, remaining 1/4 cup beer (or beef broth) and the mustard in small bowl; gradually stir into juices in cooker. Increase heat setting to high. Cover and cook 15 to 30 minutes or until slightly thickened. Serve beef with juices.

Makes 10 servings.

Source: Betty Crocker, you can find it here.

Notes: Oh, this was so good. Such a great mix of flavors. Not your regular pot roast, that is for sure.

Herb Spaetzle


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Kosher salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup mixed chopped herbs (parsley, chives, marjoram, oregano, or dill are great)
Extra-virgin olive oil


Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil over medium heat.

In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk until they are a homogenous mixture.

In a large bowl, add flour and make a hole in the flour. Add a pinch of salt and using a fork, gradually combine the milk/egg mixture with the flour. Mix until they are just combined. Stir in 1/4 cup of the herbs.

Place the batter in a colander over the boiling water. Using a rubber spatula or a spaetzle maker, push the batter through a colander into the boiling water. Boil the spaetzle for 2 to 3 minutes or until firm. Drain the spaetzle and place in a medium bowl. Add some olive oil and remaining 1/4 cup of herbs. Toss to coat evenly and serve immediately.

Source: Food Network, recipe by Anne Burrell, you can find it here.

Creamy German Potato Salad


4 1/2 pounds red potatoes (about 18 medium)
1/2 pound bacon strips, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup cider vinegar
1 cup heavy whipping cream


Cut potatoes into 1/2-inch cubes; place in a stock pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until tender.

In a Dutch oven, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove to paper towels; drain, reserving 5 tablespoons drippings. Set bacon aside.

In the same pan, saute onion in drippings until tender. Stir in flour until blended. Gradually stir in sugar and vinegar. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes until thickened.

Remove from the heat; gradually whisk in cream. Set aside. Drain potatoes. Transfer to a large bow; add reserved onion mixture and bacon. Stir gently to coat. serve warm.

Yield: 13 servings (3/4 cup each)

Source: Taste of Home, you can find it here.

Notes: Holy cow, this is good stuff. I could go for this now...for lunch and dinner, all by itself.

Gurkensalat (German Cucumber Salad)


2 large cucumbers, sliced thin
1/2 onion, sliced thin (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon dried dill
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon paprika


Spread cucumbers and onion on a platter; season with salt and let rest for 30 minutes. Squeeze excess moisture from cucumbers.

Stir sour cream, sugar, vinegar, dill, and parsley together in a large bowl.

Fold cucumber and onion slices into the sour cream mixture.

Refrigerate 8 hours to overnight; garnish with paprika to serve.

Source:, submitted by hisunbeam. You can find it here.

Notes: This is so fresh, light tasting, and flavorful. It also made for some great leftovers. Good stuff!

Slow Cooker Brats


2 packages fresh bratwurst links (10 brats)
1/4 cup butter
2 cans beef broth
2 onions, cut in half, and thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2-3 cups sauerkraut, rinsed and drained
10 (6-inch) bratwurst buns


In a slow cooker, combine the butter, beef broth, onions, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, minced garlic, brown sugar, and sauerkraut. Place bratwurst on top over all. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4 hours.

The slow cooking imparts a wonderful flavor to the bratwurst. It makes them very tender. If, like me, you prefer to have brats that are browned and slightly crispy on the outside, remove them from the slow cooker and place them on a foil covered jelly roll pan and broil on high for 1-2 minutes or until browned to your taste.

Serve bratwurst alone on buns with your favorite mustard, or on buns topped with saurkraut/onion mixture.

Source: I modified this from a recipe that I found on, submitted by Dgoodcookr. You can find it here. We have actually posted this before on another Oktoberfest post, which you can find here.

Notes: This is so flavorful. The sauerkraut/onion mixture is so tasty either on top of the brats served on buns, or served on the side.

German Honey Mustard


1 cup honey mustard
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon celery seed


In a small bowl, combine the mustard, mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce and celery seed.

Top favorite brats with mustard and serve on buns.

Source: Taste of Home, you can find the full recipe here.

Notes: We didn't make the full recipe, which includes directions for marinating the brats in and then basting them with the honey mustard. Though I can only imagine it would be super tasty that way too. The honey mustard was quite good.

Red Cabbage


1 tbsp olive oil
5 slices bacon, coarsely chopped
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 lb red cabbage, cored and shredded (8 cups shredded)
1 can (8 oz) crushed pineapple packed in juice
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp caraway seeds


In a Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring frequently until the bacon is crips, about 5 minutes. remove with a slotted spoon. Do not drain off the bacon fat.

Add the onion to the pan and cook, stirring frequently until the onion is golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add the cabbage and stir to coat. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and cook, stirring occassionally until the cabbage begins to wilt, about 20 minutes.

Return the bacon to the pan. Add the pineapple and its juice, vinegar, salt, and caraway seeds. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally until the cabbage is very soft, about 25 minutes. Serves 4.

Source: We got this out of an old Biography Magazine. Too bad those magazines are out of print now. They were great magazines and the recipe section was always outstanding! I have not been able to find them online as of yet.

Caramel Apple Strudel


5 medium apples, peeled and chopped (5 cups)
3/4 cup apple cider or juice
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 frozen puff pastry sheet, thawed
1/4 cup fat-free caramel ice cream topping
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon coarse sugar
Sweetened whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, and/or additional caramel ice cream topping, optional


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large saucepan, combine the first six ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 15-20 minutes, or until apples are tender, stirring occasionally. Cool completely.

Unfold puff pastry onto a large sheet of parchment paper; roll into a 16x12-inch rectangle. Transfer paper and pastry to a baking sheet, placing a short side of the rectangle facing you. Using a slotted spoon, arrange apples on bottom half of pastry to within 1 inch of edges. Drizzle apples with caramel topping. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with the bottom side. Pinch seams to seal and tuck ends under.

In a small bowl, whisk egg with water; brush over pastry. Sprinkle with coarse sugar. Cut slits in top. Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. If desired, serve with whipped cream, ice cream, and/or additional caramel topping.

Yield: 8 servings.

Source: Taste of Home, you can find it here.

Notes: Oh, I love apple strudel. This is good stuff. I have also made this recipe for apple strudel before too, which is also fantastic.

The Extras

Soft pretzels

Assortment of German mustard and pickles

German cookies

Buns for the brats

Oh, and don't forget to stock up on as many different kinds of root beer as your can find! :)

Serve Over Rice


Here are a handful of great recipes to serve over rice. They will really hit the spot. Be sure to check out my notes for the two chicken recipes that aren't made in the slow cooker. I loved the sauce recipes for these, but I didn't really love the chicken preparation method. I much prefer this recipe for the chicken preparation. So, my advice would be to prepare the chicken this way and then add the different kinds of sauces offered in the other recipes.

Mongolian Beef Copycat Recipe


1 pound flank steak, thinly sliced across the grain
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 green onions, thinly sliced


1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons vegetable oil


In a medium bowl, whisk together soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, 2 teaspoons vegetable oil and 1/2 cup water. Heat soy sauce mixture in a medium saucepan until slightly thickened, about 5-10 minutes; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine flank steak and cornstarch.

Heat 1/2 cup vegetable oil in a large saucepan. Add beef and fry until browned and cooked through, about 1-2 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate; discard excess oil.

Add beef and soy sauce mixture to the saucepan over medium heat and cook until sauce thickens, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in green onions.

Serve immediately.

Source: Damn Delicious, you can find it here.

Notes: This will get gobbled up fast. You have been warned.

Asian Honey Chicken


1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil


1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or more, to taste


Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.

Working one at a time, dredge chicken in flour, dip into buttermilk, then dredge in flour again, pressing to coat.

Working in batches, add chicken to the skillet, 3 or 4 at a time, and cook until evenly golden and crispy, about 2 minutes on each side. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.

In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water; set aside.

In a small saucepan over medium high heat, combine honey, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, sesame oil, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and stir in cornstarch mixture until sesame oil and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and stir in cornstarch mixture until slightly thickened, about 2-3 minutes; set aside.

Serve chicken immediately, drizzled with honey glaze.

Source: Damn Delicious, you can find it here. Adapted from Oh Sweet Basil, which you can find here.

Notes: Again, I preferred this preparation for the chicken. So, prepare the chicken this way and then add the sauce from this recipe to mix up the flavors.

Lighter General Tso's Chicken


1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch chunks
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, beaten
2 cups crushed corn flakes


1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/3 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons cornstarch


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Coat a cooling rack with nonstick spray and place on a baking sheet; set aside.

Working in batches, dredge chicken in flour, dip into eggs, then dredge in crushed corn flakes, pressing to coat.

Place onto prepared baking sheet and coat with nonstick spray. Place into oven and bake until golden brown and crisp, about 13-15 minutes.

In a large saucepan over medium high heat, combine chicken broth, hoisin, rice vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, and cornstarch until thickened, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in chicken and gently toss to combine.

Serve immediately.

Source: Damn Delicious, you can find it here. Adapted from these two sources here and here.

Notes: For me, the corn flakes didn't stay crunchy and this was really a time consuming chicken preparation method. So, I prefer this chicken method of preparation and then add this sauce to mix up the flavor.

Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken


1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 green onion, thinly sliced for garnish
Sesame seeds, for garnish


In a large bowl, combine onion, garlic, honey, soy sauce, ketchup, vegetable oil, and red pepper.

Season with chicken thighs with salt and pepper, to taste. Place chicken thighs into a slow cooker. Add honey mixture and gently toss to combine. Cover and cook on low heat for 3 hours and 30 minutes.

Remove chicken thighs from the slow cooker and shred the chicken before returning to the pot with the juices. Cover and keep warm for an additional 30 minutes.

Serve immediately, garnished with green onions and sesame seeds, if desired.

Source: Damn Delicious, you can find it here. Adapted from this recipe.

Notes: This was super easy and easy on a crazy weekday is always a good thing.

Slow Cooker Butter Chicken


1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 onion, diced
1 (14 ounce) can light coconut milk
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons garam masala (I used 3 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon curry powder (I used 2 teaspoons)
1/2 teaspoon chili powder, or more, to taste
1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves


Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add garlic and onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until onions have become translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in coconut milk, tomato paste, flour, garam masala, curry powder, chili powder, and ginger powder until well combined and slightly thickened, about 1-2 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Place chicken in slow cooker. Add sauce mixture and gently toss to combine. Cover and cook on low heat for 5 hours.

Serve immediately, garnished with cilantro, if desired.

Source: Damn Delicious, you can find it here. Adapted from this recipe.

Notes: Ahhhh, slow cooker, I truly do love you. You make my life so much easier.

Monday, February 16, 2015

A Horse Walks Into a Bar...and Eats It...

Okay, so I'm not good at telling jokes, but these bars are good. You will really love them!

Lemon-Raspberry Cream Bars


1 box lemon cake mix
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 eggs
3/4 cup raspberry preserved
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons milk
12 oz white chocolate baking bars, chopped
2 to 3 teaspoons powdered sugar


Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease bottom only of 15x10x1-inch pa jelly roll pan.

In large bowl, mix cake mix, butter, and eggs with spoon until well blended. With floured fingers, press evenly in pan.

Bake 14 to 18 minutes, or until light golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes. Spread evenly with preserves. Cool 30 minutes.

In medium bowl, beat cream cheese and milk with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth; set aside.

In 1-quart saucepan, melt white chocolate over low heat, stirring frequently. Add warm melted white chocolate to cream cheese mixture; beat on medium speed until creamy (mixture may look slightly curdled). Carefully spread over preserves. Refrigerate about 1 hour or until set.

Sprinkle powdered sugar over top. For bars, cut into 8 rows by 6 rows. Store covered in refrigerator.

Makes 48 bars.

Source: Betty Crocker website, you can find it here.

Raspberry White Chocolate Cookie Bars


1 roll refrigerated sugar cookies
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup raspberry preserves
1/3 cup white vanilla baking chips
1/2 teaspoon vegetable or canola oil


Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 8-inch square pan with cooking spray. In medium bowl, mix cookie dough, flour, and oats until crumbly and well combined. Press half the mixture into bottom of pan. Bake 15 minutes.

Spread preserves over base. Top with remaining cookie dough mixture. Bake 20 to 25 minutes longer, or until golden brown. Cool completely, about 2 hours.

In small microwavable bowl, microwave white vanilla baking chips for 30 seconds; stir. Continue to microwave in 15-second increments until chips can be stirred smooth. Stir in the oil until well combined. Drizzle over top of bars. Cut into 4 rows by 4 rows.

Source: Pillsbury website, you can find it here.

Notes: You can change up the flavor of preserves, if you like.

Mixing It Up With Rice Crispies

Rice Crispies are good in any form...classic and basic, or dressed up. Here are a couple of dressed up versions you will enjoy.

Samoas Rice Krispie Treats


4 tablespoons butter
10 oz. mini marshmallows
5 cups crisp rice cereal
1 cup, plus 2 cups coconut
1 batch caramel sauce
1 bag chocolate chips (10-12 oz.)


Melt butter in a saucepan on the stove. Add marshmallows and cook and stir until completely melted. Pour marshmallow mixture into a bowl with cereal and 1 cup coconut. Set aside.

Mix 2 cups coconut with caramel sauce. Set aside.

Melt chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl, in 30 second intervals in the microwave, stirring between each.

Pour about 3/4 of the chocolate into the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Press half the krispie treat mixture over the chocolate. Pour caramel coconut mixture evenly over the top. Press remaining krispie treat mixture on the top. Drizzle remaining chocolate over the top.

Place pan in the refrigerator and chill for 30-60 minutes, until set. cut into 12 large or 20 small bars.

Source: Jen's Favorite Cookies. You can find it here.

Notes: I would suggest letting the rice crispies come to room temperature before cutting. They were pretty difficult to cut when they were pulled fresh out of the refrigerator. Plus, they just taste sooooo good when they are at room temperature.

Caramel Sauce


1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup cream


Melt butter in a saucepan on the stove.

Add remaining ingredients, and stir. Bring to a boil, and boil 4-5 minutes.

Remove from heat. 

Source: Jen's Favorite Cookies, you can find it here.

S'mores Rice Krispie Treats


6 cups Rice Krispies
4 cups mini marshmallows
4 tablespoons butter
Honey graham crackers
2 cups milk chocolate chips
Large marshmallows
1-2 packs of mini Hershy bars, or a couple of big bars


Melt the butter in a large saucepan. While the butter is melting, lightly spray a 9x13-inch pan with cooking spray.

Add the mini marshmallows to the saucepan and still until melted and smooth. Remove the pan from the heat and mix in the Rice Krispies. Spray the spatula or spoon that you use for mixing to prevent sticking. Once the Rice Krispies have been mixed into the marshmallows, add the chocolate chips and continue mixing.

Place the graham crackers across the bottom of the pan and cover completely (break pieces, if necessary, to fit). Cover the graham crackers with the rice crispies mixture. Be careful to keep the graham crackers in place. Smooth rice crispies mixture.

Top the rice crispies mixture with the large marshmallows (you will use about 35 marshmallows evenly spaced apart).

Place the rice crispies in a 350 degree F. oven for 5-7 minutes until the marshmallow topping is melted and nicely browned.

Remove the rice crispies from the oven and top each marshmallow with one mini Hershey bar piece.

Let cool slightly, cut, and serve.

Source: The Freshman Cook, you can find it here. You can also find it on 365 Days of Baking and More here.

Notes: These were good...very rich, but very good. So, pace yourselves.

A Great Main Dish Staple

Sometimes you want a main dish that can just be paired with a simple salad and dinner is complete. Other times, you want something that you can pair with a number of yummy sides. This recipe is one of those.

Balsamic Roasted Pork Loin


3 tablespoons steak seasoning rub
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup olive oil
3 pounds boneless pork loin roast


Dissolve steak seasoning in balsamic vinegar, then stir in olive oil. Place pork into a resealable plastic bag and pour marinade overtop. Squeeze out air and seal bag; marinate 2 hours to overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place pork into a glass baking dish along with marinade. Bake in preheated oven, basting occassionally until the pork reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees F, about 1 hour. Let the roast rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Source:, submitted by Melissa S, you can find it here.

Notes: This is just a great foundation for a great meal.

Above: We have made this for two different Sunday dinners. The time pictured above had a little more steak seasoning.

Great Salads for Autumn

I love that the produce that is available at different times of the year adds such a different flavor to foods. Here are a couple of salads that utilize the harvest to create salads with the best flavors of autumn. (Yes, I am really behind in my blogging! Lots of catching up to do!)

Harvest Salad with Cherry Vinaigrette


3 medium fresh beets (about 1 pound)
1 package (5 ounces) spring mix salad greens
2 medium apples, thinly sliced
1 mediumc arrot, shredded
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup yellow grape tomatoes or pear tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted (we used almonds because my son is allergic to walnuts)
4 thick-sliced bacon strips, cooked and crumbled

Cherry Vinaigrette:

1/2 cup tart cherry preserves
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Scrub beets and trim tops to 1 inch. Wrap in foil; place on a baking sheet. Bake 50-60 minutes or until tender. Remove foil; cool completely. Peel beets and cut into 1/2-inch pieces.

In a large bowl, combine salad greens, apples, carrot, tomatoes, beans, nuts, bacon, and cooled beeted. In a small bowl, whisk vinaigrette ingredients until blended. Serve with salad.

Yield: 10 servings (1 cup each).

Nutrition information: 1 cup salad with about 1 tablespoon vinaigrette equals 181 calories, 10 g fat, 4 mg cholesterol, 221 mg sodium, 21 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 4 g protein.

Source: Taste of Home, you can find it here.

Notes: Yummy stuff! I love beets!

Beet Salad with Goat Cheese


4 medium beets; scrubbed, trimmed, and cut in half
1/3 cup chopped walnuts (again, we used almonds instead)
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 (10 ounce) package mixed baby salad greens
1/2 cup frozen orange juice concentrate
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 ounces goat cheese


Place beets into a saucepan, and fill with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, then cook for 20 to 30 minutes, until tender. Drain and cook, then cut in to cubes.

While the beets are cooking, place the nuts in a sillet over medium-low heat. Heat until awrm and starting to toast, then stir in the maple syrup. Cook and stir until evenly coated, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

In a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice concentrate, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil to make the dressing.

Place a large helping of baby greens onto each of four salad plates, divide candied nuts equally and sprinkle over the greens. Place equal amounts of beets over the greens, and top with dabs of goat cheese. Drizzle each plate with some of the dressing.

Source:, submitted by Donna. You can find it here.

Notes: Good stuff. I have nothing to add. Great combination of flavors for a salad.