Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Breakfast Cookies

These breakfast cookies are a hit with my two-year-old daughter! She thinks it's super fun to get to eat cookies with chocolate chips in them for breakfast. I love that they have tons of healthy ingredients, such as whole-wheat flour, flax seed, bananas and oats. They are easy to whip up and freeze well for busier mornings. Enjoy!

Breakfast Cookies

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 medium ripe bananas, mashed
1 egg
3/4 cup white flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cup rolled oats
2 Tablespoons ground flaxseed
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350. In a medium bowl, combine flours, salt and baking soda, set aside. Cream together butter and sugar. Add egg, vanilla, and banana and mix until combined and somewhat smooth. Gradually add in flour mixture. Stir in oats, flax seed, and chocolate chips. Drop tablespoonfulls of batter onto a nonstick or lightly greased baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until set and lightly golden around the edges. Note: These cookies will not likely spread as many cookies do, but will appear puffy. Makes 24-36 cookies, depending on size.

Freezing Directions:
Bake as above. Allow cookies to cool, wrap individually in foil, then place in freezer bags, seal, label, and freeze. Thaw to serve.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Freezer Cooking: Cheeseburger Buns & Pizza or Sloppy Joe Buns variation

In the past year or so I have been doing more and more freezer cooking. I love having meals at the ready in the freezer, especially when I am tired or don't feel well one night and I can pull a home-cooked meal out of the freezer to serve. This is one of my favorite freezer recipes, I would compare these buns to hot pockets but of course the taste is so much better. The homemade yeast roll enveloping the filling just make these fantastic! They are also a LOT cheaper than hot pockets. Most grocery stores in my area charge around $2.25 for a 2 pack of hot pockets, so around $1.13 each. Making this recipe which yields anywhere from 12-16 cheeseburger buns depending on size and amount of filling only costs around $6.50 (depending on sale prices in your area), which makes them cost around 40 cents each. Not to mention the benefit of making them yourself is that you control the ingredients that go in them, and leave out all the preservatives that are in the commercial kind of frozen sandwiches. These fun pockets are a hit with my toddler (and husband!) and are perfect for a quick lunch, or can even make a hearty dinner served with a salad. They do take some time and effort to make, but believe me after you take your first taste you will never want to buy hot pockets again!

Cheeseburger Buns
2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast (or 4 1/2 tsp bulk yeast)
1/2 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
3/4 cup warm milk (110° to 115°)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup vegetable shortening (such as crisco)
1 egg
1 teaspoon salt
3-1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 pounds ground beef
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1/4 tsp prepared mustard
8 slices process American cheese singles, quartered

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the milk, sugar, shortening, egg, salt and 2 cups flour; beat until smooth with an electric
mixer. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 4-6 minutes.

Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes.
In a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in tomato sauce. Remove from the heat; set
aside. Punch dough down; divide into 16 pieces. On a lightly floured surface with a rolling pin gently roll out and stretch each piece into a
5 in. circle.

Top each circle with two pieces of cheese and about 3 tablespoons beef mixture.

Bring dough over filling to center; pinch edges to seal.

Place seam side down on a greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 20 minutes.

Bake at 400° for 8-12 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve warm immediately or cool. Once cooled wrap each roll in foil and store foil-wrapped rolls in a large zip-top baggy in the freezer. To
reheat, wrap each roll in a paper towel on a microwave-safe plate and heat at full power for 2 minutes or until filling is hot. I would imagine
these probably keep about three months in the freezer, however I have never found out since they are usually gone within a week or two!

* For pizza buns variation: make dough as directed above but in place of filling use pizza sauce, shredded mozzarella or italian cheese, and chopped pepperoni or any other toppings you would like. Prepare as directed otherwise.
* Sloppy joe buns: brown 1 1/2 lb ground beef and mix with 1 1/2 cans sloppy joe sauce (such as manwich). You can use just that as the filling or top with quartered cheese singles as the cheeseburger buns are. Prepare as directed otherwise.