Pecan and Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies

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Shortbread is one of my all time favorite cookies.  It is so wonderfully buttery, crisp and I love how it melts in your mouth.  My sweet friend Gloria brought me a couple of these shortbread cookies with pecans and chocolate and I thought I had died and gone to heaven!  Seriously!  Thankfully she kindly shared her recipe and I promptly made a batch.  They were perfect for watching Downton Abbey:) and  to bring to the ladies I visit teach.  I love that Gloria’s recipe is slice and bake.  They couldn’t be easier.  I baked half the batch and wrapped the other half in plastic and tinfoil and put in the freezer for later.

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Just so you know I the dough and cookies freeze beautifully!  These cookies a winner!  YUM!

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Pecan and Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound butter (softened to room temperature)
  • 1½ cups powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 5 cups flour
  • 2 cups chopped pecans
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips ( I use mini chips)
Instructions
  1. Combine butter, sugar, salt and vanilla. Beat until fluffy. Blend in flour, nuts and chocolate chips, mixing just until blended and clings together. Form into 12”x3”x2” logs. Wrap in plastic and chill for 6 hours or overnight. Cut into ¼- 3/8” slices. Bake on greased cookie sheets 1” apart @ 350° for 9-11 minutes, or until slightly brown. Cool on wire rack. May dust with powdered sugar, I like them plain.

Recipe Source: My friend Gloria:)

Buttermilk Banana Muffins

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The other day I hosted a brunch for the ladies that work with me in the Young Women’s organization at my church.  It was so fun to set a pretty table, make some delicious food and enjoy great conversation with  wonderful women that I love.  I decided I really should do this more often.  Most of the recipes I chose could be prepped or made the day before and took pressure off the morning of the brunch.

Here was the menu:

Breakfast Frittata with ham
Buttermilk Banana Muffins
Cheddar and Chive Scones (variation of this recipe –update coming soon)
Raspberry Lemon Muffins
Fresh Fruit
And I sent them all home with some Dark chocolate Pecan Shortbread (recipe coming soon)

I made this recipe in a mini muffin pan this time and they were a perfect addition to the brunch.  They come together so quickly and taste amazing.  The buttermilk and banana make a perfectly moist and tasty muffin!  I opted for a dusting of powdered sugar this time instead but they are delicious with walnuts sprinkled on  top or stirred into the batter as well.  Hope you enjoy!

banana muffin

 

Buttermilk Banana Muffins
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1¾c all purpose flour (I use whole wheat flour for ¾ cup of the flour)
  • ½ c sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 c buttermilk
  • 2 mashed up ripe bananas {about 1 c}
  • 2 TBS canola oil or melted butter or melted coconut oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ c walnuts optional
Instructions
  1. Preheat an oven to 375°F. Spray 12 standard muffin cups with cooking spray, or use paper liners.In a large bowl, stir together the all-purpose and whole-wheat flours, sugar, baking powder and baking soda.
  2. In another bowl or a large, glass measuring pitcher, whisk together the buttermilk, banana, oil, egg and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir just until blended. Do not overmix. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each about three-fourths full. Sprinkle the tops evenly with the walnuts, if using.
  3. Bake the muffins until they are lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then turn out onto the rack and let cool completely. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired. The muffins will keep in a zippered plastic bag at room temperature for 2 or 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Makes 12 muffins.

Recipe slightly adapted from William Sonoma

My version of the famous SWIG sugar cookie

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Last summer when I was in Utah,  my friends and sisters raved about a little drink place called Swig.  Not only do they create incredible drinks with names like ‘ Dirty Dr Pepper’,  ‘Big Al’ and’ Fruit Loop’, but they make a mean frosted sugar cookie.  It seems like who ever I got together with wanted to swing by Swig on our way home.   I am not much of a pop drinker but I was seriously won over with the sugar cookies!  It was melt in your mouth good!   The cookies are served chilled and then topped with  room temperature frosting and the combination is awesome!  When I got home I started looking at copy cat recipes on line and realized that most of them looked a lot like our Sugar Gem recipe. I tweaked the sugar gem recipe just a little and added a some cream cheese to the frosting and viola–I  had a “Swig”like  cookie all the way across the country in Tennessee.  These cookies are WONDERFUL–a crispy, chewy, buttery, bit of heaven that melts in your mouth kind of like shortbread (which I LOVE). My husband and boys all swore these were the best sugar cookies EVER!  Bless their hearts–they are my biggest fans in the kitchen!   I enjoyed them a little too much myself! I plan on making some more for the upcoming Valentines Day and giving all the extras away before I get my self in trouble! Will power with these babies around the house is next to impossible for me!  YUM!

These cookies make me miss my cute sisters in Utah.  I am looking forward to being there in the Spring for Womens Conference and stopping by Swig for a cookie!

**You can now follow The Sisters Café on Instagram!  I LOVE instagram, don’t you?!

swig cup smash

 

 

SWIG sugar cookie (knock off recipe)
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter (softened)
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 5½ cups flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp cream of tarter
  • 1 tsp salt
Frosting
  • ½ cup butter (softened)
  • 4oz cream cheese (softenend)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¼ tsp almond flavoring
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2-4 tsp milk
Instructions
  1. Cream butter, oil, sugar, powdered sugar, eggs and vanilla together. In another bowl combine flour, baking soda, cream of tarter and salt. Wisk together and then slowly add to the creamed ingredients. Stir to combine. The dough is pretty thick and dry. Roll them into golf ball sized or smaller and place on a cookie sheet. Then take a small glass cup and wet the bottom and then dip it in sugar and firmly press it into the center of each dough ball. This will give the cookies the signature cracked edge. You only need to wet the bottom of the glass once. Bake the "smashed" cookies for 8 minutes at 350. They will be set but not browned yet. Only the bottom will be slightly browned. Remove to a rack and allow to cool completely and then chill the fridge until ready to use. Only frost as many as you want at a time.
Frosting
  1. Mix well and add a little more powdered sugar or milk to get the consistency right. Frost your chilled cookie and enjoy!

Classic Pot Roast

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A dinner of tender pot roast with mashed potatoes and gravy is the epitome of comfort food for me.  Even though I am normally not a huge fan of red meat, every once in a while I crave a well cooked pot roast!  I make pot roast every other month or so, usually on a Sunday.  This is the recipe and method that I have found creates the most tender and flavorful roast.  It works in the crockpot too–but I think roasting in the oven at low heat in a heavy pot is better.  I like to use Montreal Seasoning but plain salt and pepper work great too.  Enjoy!!

pot roast 2 Here it is all browned and ready to put on the lid and pop into the oven!  Yum!

Classic Pot Roast
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 whole (4 To 5 Pounds) Chuck Roast
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 whole Onions
  • 6 whole Carrots (Up To 8 Carrots)
  • Salt/Pepper or Montreal Seasoning To taste
  • 1 cup Beef Broth to deglaze
  • 2 cups To 3 Cups Beef Stock
  • 3 sprigs Fresh Thyme (opt)
  • 3 sprigs Fresh Rosemary (opt)
Instructions
  1. First you must choose a nicely marbled piece of meat. I personally like to use a chuck roast cut of meat for my pot roast dish. It will have a lot more flavor and a more tender texture than cuts that have no fat.. Generously sprinkle salt and pepper OR Montreal Seasoning (*this stuff is great!! I usually use it for all my roasts instead of plain salt and pepper) your chuck roast.
  2. Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Then add 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil (or you can do a butter/olive oil split).
  3. Cut two onions in half and cut 6 to 8 carrots into 2-inch slices (you can peel them, but you don’t have to). When the oil in the pot is very hot (but not smoking), add in the halved onions, browning them on one side and then the other. Remove the onions to a plate.
  4. Throw the carrots into the same very hot pan and toss them around a bit until slightly browned, about a minute or so.
  5. If needed, add a bit more olive oil to the very hot pan. Place the meat in the pan and sear it for about a minute on all sides until it is nice and brown all over. Remove the roast to a plate.
  6. With the burner still on high, use beef broth (about 1 cup) to deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom with a whisk to get all of that wonderful flavor up. When the bottom of the pan is sufficiently deglazed, place the roast back into the pan and add enough beef stock to cover the meat halfway (about 2 to 3 cups). Add in the onion and the carrots, as well as 3 or 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary and about 3 sprigs of fresh thyme. *you can use dried herbs if you don't have fresh!!
  7. Put the lid on, then roast in a 275F oven for 3 hours (for a 3-pound roast). For a 4 to 5-pound roast, plan on 4 hours.It should be tender and fall apart easily!
Gravy
  1. Take out the meat and vegetables and strain. I have a little separator to remove the fat/oi. I make gravy by adding a couple of tablespoons of cornstarch mixed with cold water to the juices. Bring this to a boil until slightly thickened. Serve roast with gravy over mashed potatoes. YUM!

Recipe Source: adapted from Pioneer Women Cooks

Garlic Parmesan Butter (and it’s many uses)

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When I serve bread slathered with this garlic butter  I am a very popular person!!  My family absolutely LOVES it and it could not be easier for me to make.  I usually have a container of it in the fridge.  I the perfect way to dress up a boring dinner of soup (my silly boys do not get excited about soup) is with this garlic bread!  When my family know this is on the menu they came running to the dinner table!  This garlic parmesan butter is great and it is not only for  bread. A spoonful is magic on a baked potato or melted over some freshly steamed broccoli or green beans. Even zucchini is better sauted in this garlic parmesan better!  You can also split a boneless chicken breast in half, pound it fairly thin and sauté it in a pan with some of this butter–add a green salad and you have a quick and fantastic dinner.  I think you will find many uses for this wonderfully flavored butter and trust me you will want to keep it in your fridge all the time!

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Garlic Parmesan Butter
submitted by Melanie~www.thesisterscafe.com

Garlic Parmesan Butter (and it's many uses)
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • •Garlic Butter:
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp garlic salt (more to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground paprika
Instructions
  1. Mix softened butter with all ingredients listed and mix until well combined. Enjoy!
  2. To make garlic bread--you simply spread it on the split bread and put it under the oven broiler to toast OR for softer bread, simply wrap in tin foil and wake at 350 for 5-7 minutes to warm.

  • Glazed Coconut Bread

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    Happy New Year friends!  Do you find yourself baking more when the weather is cold?  I do!  Last week I discovered a bag of coconut in my freezer and remembered this wonderful coconut bread recipe that I had not made in a long time.  I decided to whip up a batch and make mini loaves to share with a few neighbors and my visiting teachers.  This coconut bread is really more of a cake with the amazing glaze.  It is sweet and chewy and oh soo good:)  Hope you enjoy!

    Glazed Coconut Bread
    Author: 
     
    Ingredients
    • •4 eggs
    • •2 cups sugar
    • •3 cups flour
    • •1 cup oil
    • •1 cup buttermilk (*do not substitute)
    • •1/2 tsp. salt
    • •1/2 tsp. soda
    • •1/2 tsp. baking powder
    • •1 cup coconut
    • •2 tsp. coconut extract
    • •1 tsp. vanilla
    • Glaze
    • •1 cup sugar
    • •1/2 cup water
    • •1 tsp. Coconut Extract
    • •2 Tablespoons butter
    Instructions
    1. Mix together the oil and the sugar. Add the eggs and beat well. Mix in the buttermilk and flavorings. Add flour, salt, soda and baking powder, and mix until well blended. Mix in 1 cup of flaked coconut. Mix.
    2. Grease and prepare 2 small loaf pans. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and five minutes. Cover with foil if bread starts to get too dark. Cool in pans for 10 minutes, while preparing the glaze.
    Glaze:
    1. Mix water, sugar and butter all together over medium heat, and boil mixture for about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the coconut extract. Pour glaze over warm bread. Leave in pan for a couple hours to cool completely. YUM!

    White Chicken Chili in the Crockpot

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    We spent Christmas in Arizona this year and one night Uncle TJ made us this fantastic chili!  Seriously it was incredible!  I was telling him how good it was and he joked that maybe now he could make it on The Sisters Café!  I knew he was teasing but when I started to think about it,  I decided he had a GREAT idea! This chili was soo good that it needed to be shared!  So I paused to take some pictures and get the recipe for you!  I love the combination of smokey cumin, creamy beans, hearty chicken and let me tell you the homemade guacamole he served with it, took it over the top!! (which I forgot to add for the picture–but I did enjoy on my bowl of chili)  It is a pretty simply recipe and I love that it goes in the crockpot.  Easy and delicious!

    Lots more on our Arizona Christmas here.  It was prefect–sunshine and lots of family!!

    Thanks Uncle TJ and Aunt Carrie for a wonderful dinner in your beautiful home!

    carrie

    White Chicken Chili in the Crockpot
    Author: 
     
    Ingredients
    • 3 chicken breasts (raw), cut into bite-sized pieces *TJ likes to double the chicken
    • 1 onion, diced
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 cans white beans, drained
    • 1 regular can pink beans (pinquitos)
    • 1 large can diced green chiles
    • 1 cup frozen corn
    • 2 cups chicken stock
    • 1 jalapeño, minced*
    • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
    • ½ teaspoon chipotle chili powder
    • salt & pepper, to taste
    • ½ cup finely crushed tortilla chips
    • 2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese
    Instructions
    1. Throw all the ingredients, except for the crushed tortilla chips and cheese into your slow cooker. Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours.
    2. During the last 30 minutes, stir in the crushed tortilla chips and the shredded cheese and heat until the cheese is melted and the chili has thickened.
    3. Serve with guacamole, sour cream, salsa, chips, or whatever else you think sounds good!
    4. *doubling the chicken will make it very thick and hearty
    5. *feel free to remove seeds from jalepeno or leave out if you are worried about the spice

    Recipe Source:  Sweet Anna’s  

    My Favorite Gingersnaps

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    I have to admit that I have already made 3 batches of these this month!  Every time we have needed a treat to bring somewhere I have opted for these gingersnaps and they are always a big hit!  This is the BEST recipe in my opinion!  Gingersnaps remind me of my Grandma who I love and they are also my husband’s favorite cookie–so I guess that explains their popularity with me:)  Also, baking these cookies makes your house smell divine!  This recipe is all butter (no shortening–I do my best to avoid that stuff) and just the right amount of spices.  They have a crispy exterior but a chewy flavorful inside.  Perfection, I tell you!

    I made these cookies as a treat to enjoy after I took my boys to the Nutcracker:)  Can you believe I got all my sports loving boys to dress up and go the ballet with me?!  Let me tell you I was pretty proud of myself!  We have fun!

    So tell me, what is your go to favorite holiday treat?

    FYI–some people have been confused with our new design–but the comment button is up there at the top of the posts now:)

    My Favorite Gingersnaps
    Author: 
     
    Ingredients
    • •1½ cups butter, softened
    • •2 cups sugar
    • •1/2 cup molasses
    • •2 eggs
    • •4 cups all-purpose flour
    • •4 tsp. baking soda
    • •2 tsp. cinnamon
    • •1 tsp. cloves
    • •1 tsp. ginger
    • •1 tsp. salt
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
    2. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and salt and set aside.
    3. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, beat together butter and sugar on medium speed for 1 minute until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs and molasses, and beat on medium-low speed until combined. Gradually add in the dry ingredient mixture and beat until combined.
    4. Roll the dough into small balls, about 1-inch in diameter. Fill a small bowl with sugar, and roll each ball in the sugar until it is completely coated. Place on cookie sheet at least 1 inch apart, and bake for about 8-10 minutes, until the cookies begin to slightly crack on top. (They may crack more while cooling.) Remove from the oven and let cool for a minute or two. Then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
    5. Serve immediately or store in a sealed container for up to 1 week.

    Recipe Source: Gimmesomeoven

    Buttermilk Cornbread

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    I have been working on a personal cookbook for my family of our absolute FAVORITE recipes and I am happy to say that I am DONE! I posted all about it on Melandboys here.   I love the way it turned out but let me tell you it was a bit challenging to put together, since as you know I have collected a lot of recipes over the years:)  I had to sort through all of my posts and my old cookbook  binder that is stuffed with recipes and falling apart!  I wanted to find the best of the best to put in our family cookbook. So, I now have a list of recipes that we love that somehow were never posted here on The Sisters Café.  The first one I am excited to share with you is this Buttermilk Cornbread that is somewhat of a staple at our house, especially during ‘soup season’.  I am telling you–IT IS THE BEST CORNBREAD ever, hands down!  It comes together fast and with ingredients that I keep on hand.  I know that some of you do not keep buttermilk as a staple, but seriously you should!  It makes the best waffles, muffins, rolls, biscuits, cake and I could go on (just look here in the buttermilk section of our Recipe Index)!  We have this cornbread often and I even make a batch for my son Coleman (who has Celiac disease) by subbing out the flour for a gluten free blend.  It is especially good slathered with Grandma’s Honey Butter.

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    Buttermilk Cornbread
    Author: 
     
    Ingredients
    • ½ cup butter
    • ½ cup sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 cup buttermilk
    • ½ tsp baking soda
    • 1 cup cornmeal
    • 1 cup flour
    • ½ tsp salt
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 375. Grease an 8inch square pan. Melt butter and stir in sugar. Then add the eggs and stir until well blended. Combine buttermilk with baking soda and stir into wet mixture. Stir in cornmeal, flour, and salt until well blended and few lumps remain. Pout batter into the prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
    *you can add 1-2 cups grated cheese and chopped green onions for a fun variation
    **I sometimes double this and bake in a 9x13 pan with great results!

    Best Ever Classic Scones (with endless variations)

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    I have always LOVED scones.  Maybe it is my Irish and Scottish ancestory coming out:)  I love the way they taste and I love how easy they are to make. This recipe has become my favorite for scones–all different kinds! No matter if you choose to make them sweet or savory this basic recipe always turns out perfect! I can whip a batch up quickly on a Saturday morning and it helps to softened the blow of the list of  “Saturdays jobs” that is set out for them on the kitchen counter.  The scones pictured above are Cinnamon with a Maple glaze.  My boys loved this variation so much that I made them two weekends in a row!  I will share my favorite sweet variations to this basic recipe and then some of my favorite savory variations will be another post. The sky is the limit with this recipe!   I would love to hear what you come up with!   Enjoy!

    *speaking of needing your ideas–do you have an Elf on the shelf?  Ours is back–with a fun idea challenging the boys to daily service (more here) but I would LOVE to hear what your elf is up to:)  It is so much fun but sometimes our little guy forgets to move!  oops!!

    A little note–I usually use buttermilk because that is what I normally have on hand, but cream is wonderful too!

    Best Ever Classic Scones ( with endless variations)
    Author: 
     
    Ingredients
    • 2 cups all purpose flour
    • ⅓ cup sugar (omit for savory variations-see below)
    • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • ½ cup cold butter, butter into pieces
    • ¾ buttermilk or whipping cream
    • extra cream or egg wash (1 egg mixed with 1 TB milk) for brushing the tops
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 425. Stir together first four ingredients in a large bowl or food processor. Cut butter into the flour mixture using a pastry blender or by pulsing on food processor, until the mixture is crumbly and resembles small peas. Place mixture in freezer for 5 minutes. Stir in any add ins (see variations below) and then add ¾ cream, stirring until just until dry ingredients are moistened. Turn dough onto baking mat (or marble slab or wax paper) , gently press or pat dough into a 7 inch round (mixture will be very crumbly) Cut round into 8 wedges (or 12 if desired--just cut down back time a little) Place wedges about 2 inches a part on a parchment or silicone lined baking sheet (or lightly grease first). Brush tops with whipping cream or egg wash. Bake at 425 for 13-15 minutes until golden brown.
    Sweet Variations:
    1. Cinnamon Maple glazed: Add 3 tsp cinnamon to dry ingredients (and if desired ½ cup chopped toasted pecans). Glaze with 1 tsp soft butter, 2 TB maple syrup mixed with 1 cup powdered sugar.
    2. Lemon Poppy seed: Add with the cream, zest of 2 lemons and 1 TB of poppyseeds. Glaze with 1 TB fresh lemon juice and ½ cup powdered sugar or enough for right drizzling consistency.

    Recipe Source: Adapted  from My Recipes.com

    Nordstrom’s Tomato Basil Soup

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    Happy December everyone! Did you have a nice Thanksgiving?  Mine was a bit stressful, as my oldest landed himself in the hospital for a couple of days! More on that here.  Scary–but he is fine now-thank goodness!     In other news I have been busy getting my house all decked for Christmas and I am now checking things off my shopping list and wrapping gifts left and right!  I bought myself an early gift (haha) a new digital candy thermometer and can’t wait to use it this weekend making some homemade caramels!  A favorite holiday treat at our house!  But I digress –back to the post:)   I REALLY LOVE to make soup this time of year.  It just hits the spot on a cold winter night.  A couple of weeks ago we had some seriously cold weather (like almost set a record–brr)    I have heard that the Tomato Basil soup at the Nordstrom café is so good that it has a cult following–so of course I really wanted to try it!  Since we don’t have a Nordstrom here in Chattanooga (boo hoo) I had to hunt down the recipe to make it myself. I guess there is a Nordstrom cookbook and this recipe is in it.  I found the recipe online and this little bit of information regarding the secret to it’s success:

     The secrets, I think, are the generous use of carrots, which bring a sort of untraceable sweetness, and the use of dried basil, not fresh. That might seem surprising since dried basil gets a bad rep for tasting very little like its fresh counterpart. But it’s actually a useful ingredient, and the concentrated flavor is key for a puréed soup like this. “

    Interesting, huh?  Well you will have to give it a try and tell me what you think! When I made this soup I also whipped up some grilled cheese sandwiches on sourdough and sent my husband this picture on his phone. I was trying to entice him to come home from the office!  I am proud to report , it worked!! He he! I am such a tricky wife! And, by the way I LOVED this recipe and so did my husband!  This will be my new go to Tomato Soup recipe from here on out.  I always have these ingredients on hand, so it is perfect for us!  Simple, fast and delicious!!

    Also–if you are in the mood for a simple but stunning craft–try these cool snowflakes!  So pretty and fun!!

    Nordstrom's Tomato Basil Soup
    Author: 
     
    Ingredients
    • ⅓ cup olive oil
    • 4 large carrots, peeled and diced
    • 1 large onion, sliced
    • 1 tablespoon dried basil, crushed
    • 3 28-ounce cans whole peeled Roma tomatoes
    • 1 quart chicken broth
    • 1 pint heavy cream
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    Instructions
    1. In a large, heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering.
    2. Add carrots and onion and cook until beginning to soften, 10 minutes, then add basil and cook until vegetables are completely soft, about 5 minutes more.
    3. Add tomatoes and broth, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 20-30 minutes, or up to 45 minutes if you have the time.
    4. After allowing soup to cool somewhat, purée in a blender or food processor until smooth, doing so in batches if necessary.
    5. For a much silkier texture, strain the purée before returning to the pot.
    6. Stir in cream little by little over over low heat, until desired texture is reached and soup is just heated through.
    7. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve warm.

     

    Recipe Source: Serious Eats via Nordstrom Cookbook

     

    Thanksgiving Menu Ideas

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    Happy Thanksgiving week everyone! 

    Are you planning your menu and making you shopping list?

    I thought I would share some Sisters Café favorites to help with your planning!

    You can’t go wrong with either of these two recipes for your turkey:  Rosemary and Garlic Roasted OR my favorite the  Brined Roast  Turkey 

    Favorite sides: Wonderful Mashed Potatoes (they really are the BEST),  Celebration Salad ( super easy and perfect for a crowd),  Green Beans with Walnuts and Nutmeg, lots more vegetable side dish ideas here

    Rolls: Buttermilk Rolls are my favorite (this is a post on how to shape them with links to the recipe and our roll section if you want to try a different roll recipe–we have lots of good ones!)

    Flavored Butters:  I love making Grandma’s honey butter and Raspberry butter to offer with my rolls on Thanksgiving.

    Desserts:  We have TONS of fabulous Pies here.  I am making a classic apple pie, the Banofee (caramel banana) and this heavenly Pumpkin Trifle this year.

    Hope your holiday is wonderful! Happy cooking!

    xo Melanie and the Sisters:)

    Chicken Teriyaki

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    My husband has always been a BIG fan of chicken teriyaki so I have tried lots of recipes over the years but this one is the BEST– our all time favorite!  This is the recipe that made the cut for our hard bound family cookbook (more on that soon).  When I make this chicken my boys come running and there is never any leftovers!  It is perfect on the grill but when it is cold like it is now, I use my grill pan on the stovetop with great results.  I actually love that this makes enough sauce for two dinners.  I just pour at least half into a glass jar in the fridge for later.  Enjoy!

    3.0 from 1 reviews
    Chicken Teriyaki
    Author: 
     
    *Note: Mirin is a Japanese sweet rice wine that is used for cooking not as a drink. I found a small bottle labeled for cooking at my local grocery store in the Asian section alongside the soy sauces and rice vinegars etc. It was about $4. I never have, but I have read that you could substitute apple juice with a little sugar added for the cooking wine, in a pinch.
    Ingredients
    • 3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
    • 2 T cornstarch
    • 1½ cups regular soy sauce (Not low-sodium)
    • 1½ cups white sugar
    • ¾ cups brown sugar
    • ¾ cups mirin (Japanese sweet rice cooking wine; not rice vinegar)*
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 T freshly grated ginger
    • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
    • Chopped scallions and toasted sesame seeds for garnish, optional
    Instructions
    1. In a medium bowl, combine cornstarch with soy sauce. Thoroughly dissolve the cornstarch, whisking until no more cornstarch is visible. Add soy sauce, both sugars, mirin, garlic, ginger, and pepper. Whisk sauce until ingredients are well combined. Set aside.
    2. Thoroughly dry chicken thighs with paper towels, and trim. Working one at a time, place each piece on a cutting board and top chicken with cling wrap. Pound chicken evenly to about ½ in. thick.
    3. Using a fork, poke lots of holes all over chicken pieces.
    4. Place chicken in large mixing bowl or large baking pan. Whisk marinade again and pour in just enough to completely cover every chicken piece front and back.
    5. Cover and let sit in fridge overnight, turning chicken pieces over once while marinading. Pour unused clean marinade in a jar and keep in fridge for future use.
    6. One hour before cooking, remove chicken from fridge. Grill until thighs are cooked through, basting generously and frequently with a little of the unused marinade you saved. Either throw out used marinade or boil for 5 minutes to kill any bacteria from the raw chicken. Once it has boiled for at least 5 minutes you can use it to serve as a sauce with your grilled chicken and rice. OR you can just use the extra sauce--simply bring that to a boil for minute or two and serve.
    7. Serve chicken over your favorite white rice. Sprinkle with chopped scallions and toasted sesame seeds, if desired.

    Recipe Source:  Chew Out Loud

    Crispy Chewy Oatmeal Cookies

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    Happy Monday!  Hope you are all staying warm!!  It seems like Winter hit early this year in lots of places.  I keep seeing snow in my Instagram feed:)  While we don’t have any of the white stuff here in Chattanooga, we do have some seriously chilly weather.  Brr!   One good thing about this cold weather is that it has put me in the mood to bake!  I was looking through my shelves of cookbooks last week, on the hunt for something different to make for my boys and I came upon this recipe in my trusty Cooks Illustrated Book.  I am so glad I found this recipe!  Oh WOW are these cookies ever good!  I mean super delicious.  Crisp on the outside but chewy in the middle–with a buttery melt in your mouth texture to boot!  Can you tell that I REALLY like these cookies?!  They may be my new favorite.  I changed it up a little by adding some cinnamon, because I like cinnamon, but I am sure they would be good without it too.  I made a double batch, baked them and froze them for a quick treat to pop into school lunch bags or to dunk into hot chocolate after being outside in this chilly weather:)  Let me tell you that they have been a big hit!  I am sure that I will be making these again and again–YUM!!

    I posted a little “food for thought” on living in Thanksgiving here on my other blog today.

    Crispy Chewy Oatmeal Cookies
    Author: 
    Cuisine: Desserts
     
    Recipe Source: The Cooks Country Cookbook from America's Test Kitchen
    Ingredients
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
    • ½ teaspoon baking soda
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 14 tablespoons butter (1¾ sticks), softened but still slightly cool
    • 1 cup granulated sugar
    • ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • ½ teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
    • 2½ cups old-fashioned rolled oats * NOT quick oats
    Instructions
    1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 3 large (18- by 12-inch) baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl.
    2. In standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter and sugars at medium-low speed until just combined, about 20 seconds. Increase speed to medium and continue to beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute longer. Scrape down bowl with rubber spatula. Add egg and vanilla and beat on medium-low until fully incorporated, about 30 seconds. Scrape down bowl again. With mixer running at low speed, add flour mixture and mix until just incorporated and smooth, 10 seconds. With mixer still running on low, gradually add oats and mix until well incorporated, 20 seconds. Give dough final stir with rubber spatula to ensure that no flour pockets remain and ingredients are evenly distributed.
    3. Scoop out about 2 tablespoons of dough (or use #30 cookie scoop), then roll between palms into balls. Place cookies on prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 2½ inches apart, 8 dough balls per sheet (they will spread a lot!). Using fingertips, gently press each dough ball to ¾-inch thickness.
    4. Bake 1 sheet at a time until cookies are deep golden brown, edges are crisp, and centers yield to slight pressure when pressed, 13 to 16 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack; cool cookies completely on sheet.

    Italian Pepperocini Roast

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    Well happy Tuesday everyone!  Hope your week is going well!  I have a great “man pleasing” recipe to share with you today!  This pepperoncini beef is fantastic and let me tell you, boys LOVE it!  My family of all boys devour this recipe!  I was first introduced to this delicious roast when my little Bridger was in the ICU with heart problems and my sweet friend Christa brought dinner to us.  She brought this recipe along with home made macaroni and cheese and banana pudding too!  Oh man–what a dinner!  It was so good and we all loved it so much.  Ever since we have enjoyed this recipe often.    If you are worried about the spicy-ness you can cut down on the pepperoncinis –I usually use about 3/4 of the 16 oz bottle and it is not very spicy at all.  I hope you like it as much as we do!

    PS And just so you know, Bridger’s heart is completely better now–I just posted a final update here.  What a blessing!

    Italian Pepperocini Roast
    Author: 
     
    *Recipe Source:  My friend Christa and Allrecipes
    Ingredients
    • 1 (3 pound) beef chuck roast
    • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
    • 1(12-16 ounce) jar pepperoncini (depending on how spicy you like it)
    • 1- 1 1/2 cup beef broth
    • Onion Flakes--shake or two
    • Opt: Hoagie Buns, provolone cheese
    Instructions
    1. Make small cuts in roast, and insert garlic slices in cuts.
    2. Place roast in the slow cooker, and pour the entire contents of the jar of pepperoncini, including liquid, over meat.
    3. Add beef broth and onion flakes.
    4. Cover, and cook on Low for 6 to 8 hours
    5. Great served on Hoagie buns, lightly buttered, topped with beef and sliced provolone cheese.
    6. Broil for approx. 3 minutes. FANTASTIC!

    The Best Snickerdoodles (all butter)

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    I have to admit that I am a chocolate chip cookie girl myself, so I kind of forget about making other kinds of cookies!  Which according to my family is a tragedy because they LOVE snickerdoodles !  I  try to have cookies in my freezer to pop into my 5 boys daily lunches and these are the most requested variety by far!  I think I avoided them for years because most snickerdoodle recipes have shortening as an ingredient and I try to avoid it at all costs!  So after some trying lots of different recipes,  I found the BEST snickerdoodle recipe that is all buter.  This is supposedly Mrs. Fields recipe–I am not sure about that since I have found several different recipes making that same claim!  Regardless,  I will say these snikerdoodles are FANTASTIC and shortening free (yeah)! I have been making these cookies for years and didn’t realize that I hadn’t posted them until I brought them to a church function and people told me they couldn’t find the recipes on Sisters Cafe!  Woops! So here you go friends!  Enjoy:)

    Happy Stuff post on Melandboys today:)  Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

    Best Snickerdoodles
    submitted by Melanie~www.thesisterscafe.com

    1/2 cup butter, softened
    1/2 cup granulated sugar
    1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
    1 large egg
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
    1/4 teaspoon salt

    For Rolling
    1/4 cup granulated sugar
    2 teaspoons cinnamon

    To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or large mixing bowl and electric mixer) combine the butter, sugars, and beat on medium-high speed until creamed and well combined, about 3 minutes

    Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the egg, vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until well combined, light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the add the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt, and beat on low speed until just combined, about 1 minute.  Chill dough for at least 1 hour. ( If you don’t chill the dough, the cookies will bake thinner, flatter, and be more prone to spreading.)  Roll approximately 2 Tablespoons of dough into balls, and flatten slightly. . Preheat oven to 350F, line a baking sheet with a Silpat, parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.

    For Rolling – In a small bowl, combine sugar, cinnamon, and stir to combine.

    Drop and roll each mound of dough through cinnamon-sugar. Place dough mounds on baking sheet, spaced at least 2 inches apart (I bake 8 cookies per sheet) and bake for about 9 minutes, or until edges have set and tops are just set, even if slightly undercooked, pale, and glossy in the center; don’t overbake for soft, pillowy cookies. For firmer cookies, bake a minute or two longer. Cookies firm up as they cool. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for about 10 minutes before serving.

    I like to keep unbaked cookie dough in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 4 months, so consider baking only as many cookies as desired and save the remaining dough to be baked in the future when desired.

    Recipe Source: Slightly modified from MrsFieldsathome. BlogSpot.com

     

    Skele-Cat Veggie Tray

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    My parents give one killer of a Halloween party every year, complete with the best and spookiest food! This year I was assigned a vegetable side…  and I came across this darling skeleton cat. Every body loved it and ate it right up! The bean dip is very healthy and tasty too but honestly not a favorite with the kids, I’m sure ranch would have been preferred… but then I wouldn’t have had the “black” cat look! Sometimes you gotta make sacrifices. ;)

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    Arrange cat skeleton using whatever veggies you like (sliced peppers or green beans make great ribs!)

    *I would have made the tail curve up and around more if I had more room. Also I would have made the legs a little longer and had more carrot “claws” on each paw.

    Skele-Cat Veggie Tray - Black Bean Dip
     
    Ingredients
    • 1 can black beans
    • ¼ cup salsa
    • 3-4 Tb lime juice
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • ¼ cup cilantro
    Instructions
    1. Mix together in food processor.

     

    Maple Mustard Chicken

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    Hello friends!  Did you know that today is officially the first day of Fall?  I am so happy that Autumn is here!  I love this time of year and have already got my Fall To Do List started!  I posted it along with my weekly menu on Melandboys here.   I have really missed my blogs and have decided to get back to posting again.  I thought I would start with this fabulous dish that is just PERFECT for the season. You really must put this flavorful chicken on your menu as soon as possible!  My husband and boys absolutely LOVE it and ohh and ahh  enough to make me laugh whenever I make it!  In fact we like it so much that  am going to make the sauce tonight and use it to roast a pork tenderloin over sliced apples.  If it is as good as I imagine it will be–then I will let you know:)   I have been meaning to take a better picture–one with the option of rosemary because honestly it is even better that way…but I forgot last time I made it.  SO you will have to just take my word for it!  I have noticed that rosemary seems to just thrive in any conditions…so pick up a little plant next time you are out and plant it in your yard somewhere (close to your kitchen if possible).  Then you will always have it on hand for this dish, along with the awesome Macaroni Grill bread and for making this BEST home fragrance (it really is amazing!)  Rosemary is one of my favorite herbs I think, can you tell?!    Hope you all have a happy fall this year!

    Maple Mustard Chicken
    Author: 
    Recipe type: Main Dish
     
    Recipe Source: originally a Trader Joes recipe adapted from Summer Harms
    Ingredients
    • 6 to 8 chicken thighs
    • sea salt and pepper to taste
    • ½ cup Dijon or yellow mustard (whichever you prefer--I like Dijon best)
    • ¼ cup real maple syrup
    • 1 T. red wine or rice vinegar
    • 1 or 2 green onions, chopped OR if 1-2 T of fresh rosemary if you have some
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 425º.
    2. Place chicken thighs in a single layer in a foil lined (optional but makes for a much quicker clean up)baking dish and season with salt and pepper.
    3. In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard, maple syrup, and red wine vinegar.
    4. Pour the maple mustard sauce over the chicken and flip each piece until fully coated with the mixture.
    5. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, taking time to spoon the sauce over the chicken half way thru.
    6. After removing from the oven, let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
    7. Slice the chicken and plate it, spooning over any extra sauce left in the pan.
    8. Sprinkle with chopped green onion or fresh rosemary if you have it.
    9. Serve with rice--delish!

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