bookmark_borderSANDRA’S MILK CHOCOLATE COCONUT BARS (Easy and Tasty)

The ultimate and most addicting bars ever,
and it’s a quick and easy recipe…

Yield: 3 Doz.

Prep:30 Mins.
Bake:28 to 30 Mins.
INGREDIENTS:
Crust
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 stick (1/2-cup) unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp kosher salt
Middle Layer
1 cup (6 oz.) milk chocolate chips
Topping
2 whole large eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 TB all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1-1/2 cups sweetened coconut
METHOD:
Preheat oven to 375F. Spray a 13×9″ baking dish; set aside.
In a large bowl and pastry cutter or two butter knives, combine crust ingredients until it resembles small peas.  Pat evenly into bottom of prepared baking dish, and bake for 10 minutes in preheated oven.
Sprinkle with milk chocolate chips over hot crust; return to oven and bake for 1 minute, then remove and spread using an offset spatula evenly over crust.
In the interim, in a medium bowl, whisk eggs until light in color. Beat in sugar and vanilla extract. Add flour, baking powder and salt; mix to combine. Use a wooden spoon to add the coconut to combine mixture. Spread topping evenly over chocolate layer.
Bake for 17 to 20 minutes, until golden, brown  
Place hot baking dish on wire rack to cool, completely. 
Cut evenly into 36 (3×1″) bars. ~ Enjoy!

bookmark_borderSANDRA’S OVERNIGHT NO-KNEAD AGAVE ROSEMARY ARTISAN BREAD

The easiest bread recipe I’ve created to date,
and it’s very versatile in that you can substitute the herbs,
i.e. instead of rosemary, use thyme, fennel seeds, etc…

Yield: 1 round loaf

Prep: 10 Mins.
1st rise: 9-12 Hrs.
2nd rise: 1-1/2 Hrs.

INGREDIENTS:

Wet:
1-1/2 cups warm water

1/2 teaspoon active/rapid dry yeast (not regular)
1 TB amber agave (or honey)

Dry:

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons dried rosemary (not ground)
1-1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

–1 TB melted butter, (to brush top while hot out of oven)

METHOD:
Note: I proof my bread (let it rise) in the oven, no heat ~ A must in Alaska as this method provides for more of a consistent, non-draft environment.
Turn on pilot light in oven (no heat).
In a 2-cup glass-measuring cup, measure the warm water. Add the active/rapid yeast and agave, and stir to combine; set aside.
In a medium bowl, add the flour, salt, and pepper; whisk to evenly incorporate.  Add the wet mixture  and use a wooden spoon to combine, until the dough has pulled away from the sides and is somewhat shaggy.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap that has been sprayed on its underside.
Turn off pilot light in oven (no heat or light), then place the bowl of bread into oven to rise overnight.
The next morning, after 9-12 hours, remove the bread dough proofing in oven.
Turn on pilot light in oven (no heat).
Spray hands with oil and fold dough from outside to inner side (over on itself), working around in circles about 20 times.  Spray hands again, then place the dough ball into a sprayed 10″ heavy round ceramic baking dish, Dutch oven, or cast iron skillet. Cover with plastic wrap with underside sprayed, then let rise for 1-1/2 hours, once again in the oven, turning off pilot light (no heat).
15 minutes prior to last rise, remove dough from oven to finish rising on counter top, then preheat oven to 450F.
After second rise is complete (the last 15 minutes) and dough has doubled in size, remove plastic wrap. Use a sharp knife and cut and ‘X’ on the top 1/4″ deep to control its expansion area while baking.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until the internal temp reads 190F with an instant read thermometer.
Remove dough to a wire rack, brush with melted butter, then top with clean kitchen towels to cool.  You can either serve the bread warm or at room temperature.
Store leftover bread in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or refrigerate up to 5 days. ~ Enjoy!
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Tips: If you like your bread with a crispy crust this is how it is when it comes out of the oven. If you like your bread with a softer crust, place it a plastic Ziploc bag and it’ll soften overnight stored on the counter top.

bookmark_borderSANDRA’S EASY CHOCOLATE COCONUT MARSHMALLOW FUDGE

The most creamy and decadent fudge ever!
You can also sub out the coconut and marshmallows for chopped nuts,
or the chips for other flavors…

Yield: 36 squares
Prep: 10 Mins.
Cook: 5-10 Mins.
Chill: 2 Hrs.
INGREDIENTS
3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 (14-oz can) sweetened condensed milk (not unsweetened evaporated milk)
Pinch of kosher salt
1/2 cup finely shredded sweetened coconut
2 cups miniature marshmallows
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
METHOD
Line an 8″ square baking dish with foil, leaving extension handles over edges of about 2″.
Place a heavy bottom medium saucepan over low heat, add the chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, and salt. Stir constantly, gently, until all chips have melted.  Remove from heat.
Fold in vanilla, then the coconut and marshmallows.
Spread mixture evenly into the prepared baking dish.
Chill, uncovered, in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours before removing foil, then cutting into 36 squares (*see below).
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. ~ Enjoy!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Tip:

*How to cut into 36 even squares: First, cut across the middle each way, and then cut each of the four squares into thirds each way (9×4=36 squares).

bookmark_borderSANDRA’S INDIVIDUAL PEACH COBBLERS IN JARS

Another of my recipes I’ve modified for serving at a single setting,
as in its whole form goes south when refrigerated should there be leftovers.
All my recipes (as each are kitchen-tested) take many modifications until perfected.
These individual desserts are cute, decadent and comforting

to serve during those cold winter months…

Yield: Four (1/2-pint or 8-oz) Mason Jars
Prep: 15 Mins.
Bake: 40 Mins.
INGREDIENTS
Cobbler Batter:
–Dry:
3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
–Wet:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup milk
1 medium egg
Filling:
1 (24-oz. jar) sliced peaches (from Costco), drained and roughly chopped
–(reserving 1/3 cup of liquid)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1-1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
METHOD
Preheat oven to 350F.
Rub four 1/2-pint glass Mason jars with Mazola oil and set aside, along with a foil-lined baking sheet to place them on while baking.
Cobbler Batter:
In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. In another small bowl, whisk together wet ingredients. Add the wet to the dry ingredients in the medium bowl; stir to combine, and set aside.
Filling:
Add peaches to a medium bowl and sprinkle the flour and sugar on top. Stir until all of the peaches are well coated and flour has thoroughly been incorporated. Add the vanilla extract, cinnamon and ginger; mix to combine.
Pour one-quarter of batter into each prepared jar, and spread evenly over bottom. Spoon one-quarter of peach mixture over batter in each jar. Place in pre-heated oven, and bake until cobblers are set, about 40 minutes, turning half way for even cooking. Remove from oven; let cool slightly. Serve warm in jars. ~ Enjoy!

bookmark_borderSANDRA’S ALASKA INSTANT POT VENISON (deer) ROAST

So easy and quick to put together, with an end result of no game-taste,

including fall-apart tender meat, and superbly delicious!!

Serves: 8-10
Prep: 15 Mins.

Cook: 80 Minutes
Pressure build/release: 40 Minutes
INGREDIENTS
2 Tbsp Mazola oil
5 lb venison roast, thawed and trimmed of excess fat and sinew (deer fat is not pleasant to the palette)
3 cups low-sodium beef broth
2 pkgs brown gravy mix
1 Tbsp worcestershire
1 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp distilled vinegar
SEASONINGS

1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp pepper
METHOD
Set Instant Pot to sauté and when hot add olive oil. Sear meat on all sides.  Remove to plate.
To pot, add beef stock, gravy packages, worcestershire, soy sauce, and vinegar. Whisk together, while scraping bottom of pot to get any stuck on pieces off the bottom to prevent burning. Place trivet back on bottom of pot.
Add meat back to pot. Place cover on instant pot, and turn top knob to sealing.
Cook on Manual high pressure 80 minutes. Natural release pressure for 20 minutes, then turn to venting to release any remaining pressure.
Open instant pot; remove meat for carving, adding as much liquid as you desire to keep meat moist (I use about 1 cup).  You can cube meat for soups/stews/chili, shred for French Dip sandwiches with horse radish-mayo or tacos or enchiladas or add bbq sauce for shredded beef sandwiches on hamburger rolls, etc. 
Save any remaining stock (should yield about 3 cups) in an airtight Mason Jar(s) for future use as an Au Jus, or for soups/stews after cooling to room temperature, cover, then store in refrigerator. ~ Enjoy!

bookmark_borderSANDRA’S BANANA-RAISIN BREAD (2 loaves)

A recipe I created years ago and has been proven
as a favorite for many over time…

Prep: 15 Mins.

Bake: 1-1/4 Hours
Yields: 2 Loaves
INGREDIENTS
Wet:
3 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 (5.3-oz. containers) Chobani yogurt (I used peach purchased at Costco)
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
Dry (Sifted through a sieve atop wet ingredients):
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
Fold-in:
3 medium, ripe bananas, smashed (if small use 4, if large use 2)
1 cup raisins
METHOD
Preheat oven to 325 degrees (not 350 degrees or else the loaves will become too dry). Prepare loaf pans (2 regular) by spraying with baking spray; set aside.
In a stand mixer bowl attached with the paddle, add eggs and beat on medium speed until light and foamy. Add oil, yogurt and vanilla extract; mix on medium speed until incorporated.
Place a sieve over wet ingredients in bowl, add all dry ingredients and shake to sift over the wet. Mix on low speed initially to begin incorporating, then on medium only to moisten. (Try not to over-mix).
Use a large spoon to fold in mashed bananas and raisins to combine, while scraping edges of bowl.
Spoon even amounts of batter into loaf pans, then tap loaf pans on a hard surface to release air bubbles.
Bake in preheated oven for 1-1/4 hours, just until a toothpick inserted in center of a loaves comes out clean.
Remove from baking sheet to baking rack (in loaf pans) and let cool for 10 minutes. Remove from loaf pans and place back on rack on their long side, covered with a clean kitchen towel, for 30 minutes, turn loaves on other side for 30 minutes, then upright for the remainder of the cooling time. ~ Enjoy!

bookmark_borderSANDRA’S SOURDOUGH TWISTED BAGUETTES

Oh, the aroma of freshly baked bread loaves!!!!!

These sourdough twisted baguettes are absolutely divine…

Yield: 2 twisted baguettes
Prep: 15 – 20 Mins.

Rising: (Appx 2 – 2-1/2 hrs total)
Bake: 20 Mins.
INGREDIENTS
1 cup lukewarm water
1 cup sourdough starter, unfed
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon honey
2 teaspoons instant yeast
–1 egg lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for glaze
METHOD
In the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine water, starter, and 1-1/4 cups of flour, mixing until smooth.
Mix in the salt, honey, and instant yeast, then the additional 1 cup of flour. Mix until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, On low (#2), let machine knead the dough for 7 minutes in the stand mixer.
Transfer dough to a oiled bowl (also, oil top of dough ball) to rise, covered with plastic wrap, for about 1 to 1-1/2 hours, or until doubled in size.
Gently deflate dough, and divide it into four pieces. Knead each slightly on an oiled work surface to remove excess air bubbles. Shape each piece into a 14″ long rope, and twist two together to form baguette; pinching ends and tucking them under. Repeat with other two ropes.
Place two twisted loaves, at least 3″ apart, on a silpat- or parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover the loaves with lightly sprayed plastic wrap, and let them rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size. Near the end of the rising time (about 15 minutes remaining), preheat oven to 450F.
Gently brush the risen loaves with egg-water glaze.
Bake loaves for 20 minutes, turning half way for even baking. (Loaves are perfectly cooked when an internal temp reaches 190F on an instant-read thermometer.)
Remove loaves from oven, transfer to a baking rack. Cover with a clean kitchen towel to completely cool before slicing or storing. ~ Enjoy!

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Here is my newest recipe using one of these baguettes:

bookmark_borderSANDRA’S ALASKA HEARTY FALL VEGETABLE LASAGNA (Downsized)

You’ll never miss the meat with this hearty veggie lasagna,
it’s full-flavored and scrumptious,
especially when served with sides of
warm and crispy garlic bread
and a garden salad tossed with a freshly made vinaigrette…

Servings: (4-6)
Prep: 20 Mins.
Bale: 1 hour
INGREDIENTS
White Sauce
1-1/2 cup 2% low-fat small curd cottage cheese
2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan, plus more for topping
1 large egg, beaten
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon dry onion granules
2 tablespoons freshly julienned basil (from my garden)
1 teaspoon dry Italian herb blend
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pasta
10 Curly Edged dry pasta noodles, broke in half and cooked according to pkg directions (only for 12 minutes)
–drain, then pull apart using tongs to cool slightly
Sautéed Vegetable mixture
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
4 mini bell peppers: 2 orange, 2 red, diced (from my garden)
1/4 yellow onion, diced
2 medium zucchini, cut in half lengthwise, then sliced into 1/4″ half moons
1/2 teaspoon garlic granules
Pinch of kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Shredded Cheese Mixture
2 cups shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded Italian blend cheese
Marinara
4 cups marinara sauce (either your favorite store bought, or my homemade recipe; CLICK LINK)
METHOD
Preheat oven to 350F. Set aside an 8×8″ square glass baking dish, including a baking sheet to set it on top of while baking (to prevent potential spillage).
In a medium bowl, combine all of the white sauce ingredients; set aside.
Prepare the pasta, as directed above.
In a large non-stick skillet, add the olive oil and heat to medium-high heat. Add all the ingredients and sauté for 7 to 9 minutes, just until the onions are translucent but not browned. Remove from heat to slightly cool.
To arrange the lasagna, add enough marinara to cover bottom of baking dish.  Lay a layer of lasagna noodles, overlapping slightly to cover marinara.  Add enough marinara to cover noodle layer.  Add 1/3 of the sauce mixture, 1/3 of the cheeses, and 1/3 of the vegetable mixture. Repeat laying from the noodles in the opposite direction 1 more time.
To finish, topping off, add the final layer of the vegetable mixture, the remaining cheeses, then top by drizzling 4 strips of marinara across the top (as in photo), then sprinkle the marinara strips with parmesan.
Bake for 40 minutes covered, topped with parchment then foil, for 40 minutes. Uncover (save the parchment and foil to store in frig later if you have leftovers), then continue baking for 20 minutes until top cheesy portions turn golden brown and delicious. Let stand, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes to set prior portioning out and serving.~ Enjoy!

bookmark_borderSANDRA’S EASY ONE-PAN CHICKEN THIGH and RICE CREOLE BAKE

First, I sear the chicken thighs, then add all the other ingredients,
cover and bake for 50 minutes = absolute perfection with crispy, moist chicken
and heavenly seasoned rice!
Servings: 3-4
Prep: 5 Mins.
Cook  10 Mins.
Bake: 50 Mins.
Rest: 10 Mins.
INGREDIENTS
Spice blend (divided):
2 teaspoons Creole seasoning (I use Tony Chachere’s in the green container)
1 teaspoon Lawry’s seasoning salt
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
Chicken:
3-4 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs, (mine are from Costco the 3-pack tends to come with 3/4 thighs)
1/2 of above spice blend mixture (reserve other 1/2 for rice, below)
1 teaspoon Mazola oil
Plus, 1 tablespoon Mazola oil for searing
Rice:
1 cup raw Calrose rice (short-grain)
Remaining 1/2 of spice mixture
1 tablespoon Worcestershire
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon lemon juice
METHOD
Preheat oven to 400F. Place an ovenproof medium-size stainless steel skillet, with lid, aside.
Add all the spice blend ingredients onto a paper plate, then whisk to combine; set aside.
Place the skillet (see photo) over high heat on stovetop with 2 tablespoons of Mazola oil.
Meanwhile, pat chicken thighs dry with paper towel, including using kitchen shears to cut any excess fat without disturbing skin on under-side.  Place prepared thighs in a medium bowl.  Add half the spice mixture and drizzle with 1 teaspoon Mazola oil, then gently rub spices into both sides to coat evenly.
Place chicken skin-side down using tongs into hot skillet, while sliding back and forth initially when doing so to prevent sticking. Sear for 4 minutes on skin-side down, turn over then do the same on the under-side for 4 more minutes. Remove seared chicken thighs to a paper plate and set aside; drain grease from pan while reserving drippings.
Reduce heat under pan to medium-high and add the raw rice and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the other 1/2 of the reserved spice mixture, ketchup, Worcestershire, and lemon juice; sauté for 30 seconds.
Deglaze pan with chicken stock while scraping bottom with a wooden spoon.  Using tongs, place the seared chicken thighs back into pan atop the rice, skin-side up.  Cover, then bake, undisturbed, for 50 minutes.
Remove pan from oven, leaving covered, and let rest for 10 minutes for chicken juices to redistribute. ~ Enjoy!

bookmark_borderSANDRA’S MORNING ALASKA WHOLE-WHEAT SOURDOUGH BREAD LOAF

This is a 1-hour initial rise ~ No stand-mixer required:

The longer the initial dough ball rise,
the stronger the sourdough flavor becomes
(e.g., 1-hour vs a 9-12 hour rise time)…

Yield: (1 loaf)

Prep: 7 Mins.
Total rising time: 1-2 hours
Bake: 35 Mins.
INGREDIENTS
Proof:
1-1/2 cups lukewarm water
1 teaspoon active yeast (not rapid or instant)
1 tablespoon light agave (or honey)
Sponge:
1/2 cup ripe (fed) sourdough starter
Dry:
2 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 -1/2 cups Whole-Wheat Flour (I use King Arthur)
1-1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
–2 teaspoons Mazola oil
(For top and bottom of dough ball, so it doesn’t stick or form crust while rising)
–2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
(For brushing top of loaf through mid-baking time, and post-baking time if you desire a more-tender and golden brown crust)
METHOD
Add to a small glass/plastic bowl, the lukewarm water, yeast, and agave; stir to combine. Let proof for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium glass/plastic bowl, add the flours, kosher salt, and sponge. Once the yeast mixture has proofed, add it to this mixture. Mix with a wooden spoon to combine. The dough will look rough and shaggy. Use clean hands to shape into a ball.
Place 2 tablespoons Mazola oil into a separate medium/glass bowl. Place the dough ball into the oiled bowl, swirling it around to coat; turn over and swirl a bit more. Spray bottom of plastic wrap and cover bowl. Place in a warm, non-draft area and let rise for 1 hour, or until doubled. (Save plastic wrap.)
Spray a loaf pan and set aside.
Lightly oil working surface (not flour), and knead dough for 5-10 minutes, just until smooth and dough bounces back when depressed with your thumb.  Roll into a loaf shape, and place in prepared pan. Cover with reserved plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
Meanwhile, 15 minutes prior to final rise, preheat oven to 375F.
After loaf has fully risen, spray a sharp knife with oil and cut a 1/2″ slit lengthwise across the top of loaf.
Bake for 15 minutes, and note which direction you take pan out of oven, turn pan and brush top of loaf with melted butter then return to oven to continue baking an additional 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 192F.

Remove from oven, leaving loaf in pan and place, uncovered, on rack to cool for 5 minutes. Remove loaf from pan and place upright on rack, cover with clean kitchen towel and allow to completely cool before slicing.  


Wrap loosely in plastic wrap to store at room temperature up to 2 days. ~ Enjoy!