Easy Homemade Biscuits

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Homemade biscuits. Can there be anything more comforting?

Okay, I suppose there are a ton of wonderful comfort foods out there that on any given day could trump a warm, homemade biscuit. But sometimes a biscuit is the bee’s knees. It’s the perfect complement to a roast chicken, beef stew, chili, or just served up with breakfast (maybe with some sausage gravy???).

The only thing better than homemade biscuits are EASY homemade biscuits, which is exactly the kind of bread recipe I like – EASY.

The day I got the itch to make homemade biscuits for the first time, I found a biscuits recipe from Paula Deen that happened to use ingredients I already had in my pantry, like butter instead of lard or shortening.

I made a few tweaks, which included baking them in the oven uncovered (instead of covered in a skillet over hot coals in the fireplace), and slathering the tops of the biscuit dough with butter before baking them.

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My biscuits turned out light and fluffy (as opposed to flaky), and were definitely easy and totally yummy!

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Easy Homemade Biscuits
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
{Adapted from Paula Deen's Biscuits Recipe}
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 stick salted butter, chilled and cubed
  • ¾ cup whole milk
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F.
  2. Combine the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder together in a large bowl. Add the butter, and use a pastry cutter (or a fork) to blend the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles a coarse cornmeal.
  3. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture, and then pour the milk into the center. Use your hands to knead the milk into the dough, adding a little if it seems too dry and flaky. The dough should be a little sticky, but not wet.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter, and roll it to ¼" thick. Use a biscuit cutter - or a small juice glass turned upside-down - to cut your biscuits. Add the biscuits to the bottom of a buttered cast iron skillet, coat the tops with a thin layer of butter, and then bake them for 10-12 minutes or until they're golden brown on top. Serve with butter and/or honey.

 

Summer Couscous Salad

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I have few Food Network chefs I’d call my faves, my go-to recipe crafters. Of the bunch, those I keep coming back to have simple, easy-to-follow, flavor-rich recipes that aren’t fussy and overwhelming. They fit in with our family’s busy lifestyle, and typically don’t use off the wall ingredients that require an extra trip to the grocery store.

These are the chefs that top my list:

  1. Alton Brown – His matter-of-fact way to talking about food and recipes are one big reason I have a passion for cooking myself. Love him!
  2. Ina Garten – No one makes you want to live in the Hamptons more than her. Her easy-going manner is catchy, and her recipes (while seemingly fancy) are always simple to pull together.
  3. Alex Guarnaschelli – No frills, sensible ingredients and perfect seasoning. Love it.
  4. Tyler Florence – I might appreciate the sage green subway tile in his studio kitchen just as much as his cooking style!
  5. Giada De Laurentiis – Her recipes, both classic recipes and those she’s given an Italian twist, are many of my go-to’s!

And speaking of Giada, I’ve been making a version of her Mediterranean Salad for a couple of years now. I’ve made this summer couscous salad vegetarian, I’ve used pomegranate arils in place of dried cranberries, and just the other day I substituted lime zest and lime juice for the lemon zest and juice.

Summer Couscous Salad

inspired by Giada De Laurentiis’ Mediterranean Salad

Summer Couscous Salad

Serves 6
Prep time 1 hour
Cook time 16 minutes
Total time 1 hours, 16 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 box Israeli couscous
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 3 limes (zested and juiced)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil (chopped)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Optional

  • lime juice (additional if you don't get enough fresh-squeezed)

Note

Easily make this recipe vegetarian by substituting vegetable broth for the chicken broth!

Directions

Add 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to a medium saucepan and then place it over medium heat to warm for 3 minutes.
Add the garlic and let it cook for 1 minute, followed by the couscous. Cook the couscous for 5 minutes, stirring often until it's lightly browned.
Carefully pour the chicken broth in all at once, and then add 1/8 cup of the lime juice and bring it to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat and then simmer until the couscous is al dente - about 9 minutes.
Mix the cooked couscous, remaining olive oil, another 1/8 cup of lime juice, the zest, salt and pepper in a large bowl and then let it cool completely in the refrigerator.
Once cool, toss in the cranberries, almonds and herbs. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Savory Garlic Farro | Side Dish Recipe

Last Thursday was busy, maybe a little busier than normal even. One of those days where all of a sudden it’s after 6:00 PM and thoughts about dinner aren’t even a blip on the horizon.

 

My daughter, who spent all evening outside – until the lights came on – stopped playing with her friends long enough to ask for chicken noodle soup for dinner. Since my son was at my folks’ for the night, and my husband was busy coaching a lacrosse game (they won!), it was just us girls. And you know what? Chicken soup with buttered saltine crackers sounded perfect to me.

 

But a couple nights ago, when I had a little more foresight, we tried organic Tuscan Fields Farro Perlato for the first time. It’s nothing new and crazy. In fact, farro has been around since ancient times, and it has always been very popular in Italy – specifially Tuscanny. With a texture similar to a cross between Israeli couscous and brown rice, and with a delicate, nutty flavor, it’s also quite versatile!

 

But even prepared simple, we found it quite delicious.

 

Savory Garlic Farro

 

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{Print this recipe}
Prep: 5 minutes | Cook: 30 minutes | Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:
1 9.1oz box Tuscan Fields Farro Perlato
1 garlic clove, smashed
3 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons olive oilDirections:

Warm the olive oil and garlic in a medium sauce pan over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the Tuscan Fields Farro Perlato, and let it toast in the olive oil – stirring often – until it starts to look golden, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth all at one, increase the heat to high and bring it to a boil.

 

Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid, and reduce the heat to medium-low (or whatever keeps it at a light boil). Let the farro simmer for 18 minutes, then remove it from heat and let the it sit for another 5 minutes before taking the lid off.

 

Fluff the farro with a fork, remove the garlic, and serve it hot.

 

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About Tuscan Fields

Fattoria Pieve a Salti is a 700 hectare organic farm estate nestled in the rolling hills of the Crete Senese in southern Tuscany. The ancient history of Pieve a Salti dates back to the IV century when it was favorite summer residence of the Archbishop of Arezzo. In 1978 the Prandi family bought the farm for cultivation of grains and animal feed for dairy cows they raise in Northern Italy. In the 1980s the family renovated all the buildings into an “Agriturismo” (farm accommodation) – one of the first in Tuscany. Today the estate boasts one of the premier “agriturismi” in the region – hosting hundreds of guests from around the world every year.
 

 

Today Fattoria Pieve a Salti processes about 3,000 tons of grain grown on their own farm or from local farms in their network. All grain is organically grown and processed using strict standards and methods. Currently they are the second largest organic producer and processor in Italy. Approximately 80% of their production is sold throughout Europe under private label. Now – in 2013 – Pieve a Salti’s expansion into the U.S. market is underway with a grain line of Tuscan Fields organic products.

 

Find more about Tuscan Fields at www.tuscanfieldsfarro.com

 

Disclosure: I was given two boxes of Tuscan Fields Farro in exchange for writing this post, in addition to the opportunity to win a sponsorship to the fabulous foodie blogger conference Eat Write Retreat 2013. All opinions are my own!
  

Easy Creamy Scalloped Potatoes

Easy Creamy Scalloped Potato Recipe

I believe I could eat potatoes every day of the year.

I’m not sure my family would agree.

I mean, my son practically wretches at the sight of a potato – unless its form is that of a French fry. It’s true;  I’m not kidding. How does that even happen? Don’t all kids eat their weight in mashed potatoes? Not this one.

And my husband and daughter like a little variety in their dinner regime. Imagine.

So, there you have it. I manage one potato dish a week. Sometimes if I’m extra crafty, I can sneak in two.

That’s where scalloped potatoes come in to play. Not your everyday mashed or baked; a break from plain old herb roasted.

Creamy, cheesy, baked dish of yum.

So, there you go.

Easy Creamy Scalloped Potatoes
 
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Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 3 medium white potatoes
  • ½ stick salted butter
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • ½ cup shredded Parmesan
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • ¼ cup freshly chopped Italian parsley
  • 2 green onions, diced
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Thinly and evenly slice the potatoes (use a mandolin if you have one).
  3. Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour until the mixture becomes creamy, and then let it cook for another minute. Pour in the milk all at once, add the garlic salt and pepper, and then continue whisking until the sauce becomes thick and bubbly. Remove the pan from heat, then stir in the Parmesan until it's melted through.
  4. Spoon just enough sauce to coat the bottom of a 1-1/2 quart baking dish. Place one thin layer of potatoes on top, then sprinkle them with sea salt, green onions and parsley. Pour more sauce on top (about ½ cup) and then repeat the layers until you're left with sauce as the last layer. Sprinkle a little more parsley and pepper on top.
  5. Cover the casserole tightly, and bake it for 30 minutes. Uncover it, then continue baking for another 15 minutes, or until the scalloped potatoes are golden on top and bubbling.
  6. Let the potatoes rest for 5 or 10 minutes before serving.

 

 

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