Quick and Easy Bread Recipes You Can Do Yourself

484163886Have you ever wanted to bake some hearty, homemade bread but then realized you didn’t have all day to prepare dough, let it rise, and then (finally) bake it? Well here’s a secret: not all delicious homemade breads require half a day to bake. There are a variety of recipes that use baking powder or baking soda, instead of traditional yeast, for leavening, cutting your preparation time by at least half. You can make sweet and savory loaves, muffins, scones, biscuits, pancakes and even popovers without taking hours out of your day.

We have compiled a list of some of the best-loved and best-rated quick bread recipes, all of which you can easily make with your own two hands. These tried-and-true recipes will enable you to have a sweet or savory bread on your table in a pinch.

Popovers and Pancakes

Classic Popovers

Whole-Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes

Carrot Cake Pancakes

Biscuits and Scones

Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits

Spiced Pumpkin Biscuits

Classic Scones

Chocolate Chip Scones

Muffins

Tuscan Lemon Muffins

Chocolate Chip-Coffee Muffins

Blueberry and Oatmeal Muffins

Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins

Raspberry Cream Cheese Muffins

Morning Glory Muffins

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

Whole-Wheat, Oatmeal and Raisin Muffins

Savory Loaves

Basic Beer-Cheese Bread

Kalamata Olive Bread with Oregano

Brown Soda Bread

Maple-Stout Quick Bread

Sweet Loaves

Orange-Pecan Tea Bread

Peanut Butter Banana Bread

Zucchini-Pineapple Quick Bread

Pecan-Topped Pumpkin Bread

Coconut Banana Bread with Lime Glaze

Garden Harvest Bread

Classic Banana Bread

Sweet Potato Bread

Almond Bread

Walnut Streusel Bread

Kumquat-Cranberry Cornmeal Loaf

Whether you’re making a savory loaf to accompany your dinner, a batch of muffins for your afternoon snack, or a round of pancakes for a Saturday morning family breakfast, we have a recipe that you can whip up—and have on your table—in no time.

When you need to make bread in a pinch, remember to look out for recipes that use baking soda or baking powder for leavening—these recipes will always save you time and effort.

Don’t forget to follow our blog and check back soon for more delicious, quick-and-easy recipes!

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How To Make A Tapenade

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How to Make a Tapenade

Anyone who enjoys eating olives knows that it is fairly easy to incorporate them into your daily life. This includes foods such as anchovy-stuffed olives, Sicilian green olive salad, and a handful of the  Castelvetrano variety brought to work in a container. However, it can be tiresome only to have whole olives all of the time. If this is the case, you may want to try making a tapenade for a party or to have as a snack whenever you wish.

It’s possible to make a tapenade without going by a recipe. You can create a delicious tapenade at home within 30 minutes. Follow these instructions, and you’ll have a gorgeous tapenade in no time. You will love how easy it is to create this spread.

Gather Up Ingredients

The two ingredients that you need are olives and capers. This is the most basic version of tapenade, though you will want to add some other things such as salt, pepper, garlic, olive oil and even anchovies for a stronger flavor.

What type of olives you end up choosing for this depend on your own preference. Choose them carefully, and make sure that you have 2 cups of pitted olives. You may go with Kalamata or green, or you can mix these together. Herbs are a great addition, including thyme, rosemary, basil and oregano among others.  They are best when you get them fresh.

Blend the Ingredients

Use a food processor to create a thick paste from all of the ingredients, besides the olive oil.

Add In Olive Oil

While the food processor is still going, put olive oil in slowly. The tapenade will become slightly more chunky. This should take about a minute or two. Consider if there is oil included in with the olives already to determine how much you will need, but it typically will be from 2 tablespoons to a half cup of oil. Season this mixture with pepper and salt.

Enjoy

Put the tapenade on some crackers, or if you’d prefer, on bread. It is the perfect addition to a sandwich, and it also makes an excellent gift for fellow olive lovers.

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Easy Chuck Roast and Vegetables Recipe

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There’s nothing as warm and inviting than a Sunday beef roast with roasted vegetables and fresh baked bread. Today, we will be giving you a great recipe for a juicy and flavorful beef roast from a very inexpensive — yet quality — cut of beef: chuck roast. Chuck roast is a bit smaller than round roasts or other larger cuts for roasting, so it makes a great roast size for singles and bachelors. This recipe is incredibly easy, requires little preparation, and when cooked slowly, you will have your roasted vegetables, potatoes, tender beef and a rich sauce on made in a single pot.

Ingredients For Chuck Roast With Vegetables

  • 1 3-5 Pound Chuck Roast
  • 3-5 Large Gold Potatoes
  • 2 Medium Onions
  • 3-4 Large Carrots
  • 3-4 Stalks of Celery
  • 2 Tablespoons of Chopped Garlic in Water
  • 1 Tablespoon of Onion Powder
  • 2-3 Sprigs of Thyme
  • 2 Teaspoons of Rosemary
  • 1 Teaspoon of Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons of Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Dash of Soy Sauce
  • About 1-2 Tablespoons of Salt and Pepper for the Meat
  • 1 Large Bay Leaf
  • 1 Can of Beef Stock
  • Good Olive Oil

Again, this is a simple recipe to prepare; the trick is to get the vegetables cut to the right size. You want the vegetables to be cut a little larger than a dice… more of a cubed style cut.

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Cut Your Onions

For the onions, simply cut off both ends of the onion. Next, Cut the onion in half lengthwise and remove the ouster skin. Next, Quart the onions and set to the side.

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Slice Your Carrots

First peel the carrots and remove the ends. You will want to make sure that the carrot pieces are large by simply slicing on an angle to leave pieces approximately 1-1.5 inches long. Set carrots aside.

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Slice Your Celery

Just like we wanted to get large slices of carrots, we also want large slices of celery as well. Make sure to rinse your celery stalks thoroughly, as they tend to collect dirt on the inside. Slice off both ends of the stalks and slice the celery into about 1-1.5 inch pieces and add to the carrots and onions.

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Cube Your Gold Potatoes

First off, we use gold potatoes instead of russet potatoes, as they are more flavorful and can really hold up to the long cooking time of this recipe. Leave the skin on, but wash them well. we use a light sink sponge with an abrasive back to scrub the potatoes. After washing, slice the potatoes in half lengthwise and quarter each of the potatoes leaving cubed pieces that are fairly large. Set the potato pieces aside.

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Salt and Pepper Your Roast

We usually don’t marinate our roasts, and season them only with salt and pepper. We like to use sea salt — salt specifically from the San Francisco Bay (you can usually find this in major grocery store chains) — and freshly ground black pepper. The exact amount needed with vary depending on the size of your roast. Start with the salt and rub it all over the meat, making sure to get the sides and any exposed crevices in the meat. Next rub the fresh cracked black pepper all over the meat.

Soup Pot

In a large soup pot, drizzle good olive oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pot. We used Merula Olive Oil from Spain — Click Here to Get The Olive Oil We Used >>

Take your chuck roast and sear it on all sides over medium heat on the stove. Meat will not be cooked through, but will develop a tasty crust on all sides of the meat. After searing the meat, take the chuck roast out of the pot and set aside on a plate. Add another drizzle of olive oil into the pot and add all of your chopped celery, carrots and onions. Cook until translucent (about 5 minutes).

Once your carrots celery and onions have been cooked to translucency, we are going to add our Chopped Garlic in Water, Onion Powder, Sprigs of Thyme, Rosemary, Crushed Red Pepper Flakes, Soy Sauce, Worcestershire Sauce and Bay Leaf. Add a sprinkle of Salt and a bit of ground Black Pepper. Stir well to mix the spices and flavorings with the sauteed vegetables.

Next, lay out your potato cubes on top of the celery, carrots and onions — making a sort of a bed for the roast. Place the roast on top of the potatoes. Next, add your Beef Stock to the point where it is covering the vegetables and potatoes, but the chuck roast is not submerged. If the single can of beef stock is not enough, you can add water to get the liquid level to the perfect level.

Next place your lid on the soup pot and transfer to a preheated 375 degree oven. Continue to cook for 3-4 hours or until the roast is falling apart tender. During the cooking time, you will need to baste the roast with the liquid from the bottom of the pan about every 45 minutes to make sure that the top of the roast stays moist.

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It is as simple as that!

When the roast is tender, simply remove the roast and plate it. It should be fork-tender and should easily fall apart into strands. Serve with the roasted vegetables and potatoes and maybe even a bit of blue cheese. This recipe goes great with Irish soda bread — Get Our Irish Soda Bread Recipe HERE >>

 

The Best Ground Beef Taco Meat Recipe

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With recently having a large family gathering, we were blessed with a house full of children ranging from ages 0.5 to 18 — a grand total of 25 of them! While it was nice to have so many younger ones around, it brought on the realization that kids today are even pickier of eaters than than just 10 years ago. While they did very well in cleaning their plates when it came to the ‘fancier’ dishes such as “Yankee Pot Roast” and “Lasagna,” most of the kids could have passed over these dishes and gone straight to Taco Bell if they had the chance.

Given their almost addicted love for Taco bell and all of their menu items slathered in ground beef taco meat, we decided that we would just cook up our own sort of knock-off Taco Bell ground beef recipe and keep it in a warmer for them to make nachos, tacos, burritos and even “Crunchwrap Supremes.” What we ended up with was a delicious ground beef taco recipe that was healthier, that even the adults loved, and that the kids couldn’t get enough of.

Try this recipe out if you have a bunch of picky eaters, a house full of vacationing kids, or just want to have a “Taco Bell” creation night with your own kids — it is a guaranteed winner.

***Note: This recipe will yield about a half of a soup pots worth of the taco meat, and enough for about 6-8, but you can always half it for 3-4 people or increase the ingredients for larger parties. The meat will hold in the refrigerator to be reheated for up to 3 days, and can actually be frozen and stored for longer (though the quality diminishes the longer it is frozen).

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs of Ground Beef (80/20)
  • 1-2 large Yellow Onions
  • 3-4 large Stalks of Celery
  • 2-3 Large Red Bell Peppers
  • 3-4 Large Roma Tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons of Worcestershire Sauce
  • Good Olive Oil (We used Merula Spanish Olive Oil)
  • 2 tablespoons of Onion Powder
  • 2 tablespoons of Fresh Chopped Garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of Garlic Powder
  • 2 tablespoons of Ground Chili Powder
  • 1 tablespoon of Ground Cumin
  • 3 tablespoons of Tomato Paste
  • 2 large Bay Leaves
  • Cholula Hot Sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of Dry Sweet Basil Flakes
  • 1 Can of Beef Stock
  • Salt and Pepper

Preparing the taco meat is extremely easy and there is nearly no way that you can mess it up, so don’t worry about your skill level with cooking — just let it simmer. Also, this recipe will have small chunks of vegetables in the ground beef taco meat, when finished. If you have extra-picky eaters that are thrown off by the chunks of vegetables (as they are ground into powder for the Taco Bell recipe), simply take the vegetables and puree them in the food processor… The vegetables will be much smaller, and you can hide them in the sauce for the pickier children and eaters.

Prepare The Vegetables

Take your onions, celery, red bell peppers, tomatoes and celery stalks and finely chop them into quarter inch pieces. Set the tomatoes aside by themselves — as we will add them later in the cooking process, but feel free to let the onions, celery and red bell peppers co-mingle in the same bowl.

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Brown Your Ground Beef

In a large soup pot — the size you would use to boil spaghetti or cook a stew — drizzle your olive oil into the bottom of the pot so there is a nice thin coating of oil covering the bottom. Over medium heat, add your two pounds of ground beef and begin to let it brown.

Note: We browned all of the 2 lbs of ground beef all at once, but feel free to do it in 2 batches if you want it to brown more quickly.

Once the ground beef is completely browned, use a slotted spoon to drain the fat and water from the ground beef and move it to another bowl to hold while we saute the vegetables. Dispose of most of the excess water and fat that has dripped out, leaving only a tablespoon or so in the pot.

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Saute Your Vegetables

Add another slight drizzle of olive oil to the bottom of your pot and and your diced onions, bell peppers and celery. Remember not to add the tomatoes just yet, we don’t want them to breakdown with the rest of the vegetables at this time. Stir the vegetables while cooking, letting them soak up the little bit of fat in the pan and the flavor from the olive oil.

When the Vegetables have sweated out their flavor — and the onions are becoming translucent — add your fresh chopped garlic and stir to let that mix with the vegetables. After the garlic has been added, only cook for another minute or so — as we do not want to burn or overcook the garlic, but simply let the raw flavor blend with the rest of the veggies.

Add The Ground Beef Back to the Mix

Next, simply add the browned ground beef back to the mix and stir to bring everything together. You can turn the heat down to low at this point, as the rest of the recipe really just requires a long simmer.

Adding Spices, Building Flavors, and Creating a Self-thickening Sauce

This is where the recipe goes from being the start of “sloppy joes” to taking on that true ground beef taco meat flavor that you will recognize. Add all of the rest of the ingredients into the pot.The diced tomatoes that we set aside will break down a little, but still remain in tact enough to have a slight solidity to them. The tomato puree will build the thickness you need for the sauce later when you let the mean stand.

The Worcestershire sauce is really the secret ingredient and will merge the sweet flavors with the savory… without this there will be a slight absence of flavor between the sweet, salty and savory flavors — that absence is your mind wondering where the Torula Yeast (similar to MSG powder) has gone in the taco meat you are used to… Interesting, isn’t it? 🙂

The Chili Powder is self explanatory, and the cumin will add that familiar taco meat flavor. The bay leaves are another secret ingredient that will add extra meatiness flavor to the finished product, while the red wine vinegar helps to break down the meat and vegetables while cooking into a perfectly blended flavor.

Note*** The Cholula is where all (if any) of the spice is going to come from. The Chili powder is relatively mild, so if you want your taco meat to have a little bite to it, add 1-3 dashes of Cholula Hot Sauce in with the mix. It is a fairly large recipe, so it will blend with the rest of the ingredients and will not be too strong.

When you add your can of beef broth to everything else, it should be enough to cover all of the ingredients 3/4 of the way and allow everything to now cook evenly. You can always add more water if you’d like — throughout the cooking process — but this will let your sauce be a little thicker at the end.

You’re Almost Done!

All of the hard work is done, now you just have to let the taco meat simmer. The sauce really needs at least an hour over medium to low heat — while stirring occasionally — to come together, but letting it simmer for 3-4 hours just releases more flavor. In a rush, you can go with the minimum 1 hour, but you will not have the complexity of flavors built up. Before serving, let the taco meat stand on warm or in a warmer or crock pot for 10 minutes and the tomato puree will work its magic, thickening the sauce for you.

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Enjoy!

Congratulations, your ground beef taco meat is ready to be enjoyed. Like we said, the taco meat can be saved in the refrigerator for up to 3 days to be reheated, or you can freeze leftovers for re-heating much later. The most important part now is to remember to put out a bunch of taco toppings such as shredded cheese, sour cream, guacamole, hard taco shells, flour tortillas, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes and all of your other favorite taco accompaniments.

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How To Cook Like A Great Chef

86521668Cooking is something anyone can do. You can shop for ingredients, and follow a recipe’s instructions, right? Do you have any cooking equipment? If so, you should have the ability to cook. If you’d like to expand your skills in the kitchen, read the helpful tips below that will show you how you can make easy, delicious dishes for your loved ones.

Preparation is one of the most important things that you will have to do before you cook a meal for your friends or family. Look at your recipe, and ensure that you aren’t missing any ingredients. Prepare everything the day prior, including the correct utensils and other cooking tools. This will aid you in keeping calm and doing your best.

When preparing stir-fry meals, cut the meat on the bias and keep it thin. Some people find it difficult to cut the meat thin, but it is very important. When the meat is firm, not frozen, slice it across the grain at an angle of 45 degrees.

Always keep your spices away from light in a cool place. If the spices become too hot, or moist from humidity, it can shorten their shelf life. Too much light exposure also does this. Keeping your spices in darkened, cool areas will lend extra longevity and flavor. You can prepare tastier meals if you use fresher spices.

Have you had trouble trying to figure out exactly how long to grill your meats? Use an accurate digital meat thermometer to ensure the meat is thoroughly cooked. If the meat is thick, such as more than 1.5 inches, try closing the grill’s lid to cut down on grilling time.

Cooking can be a hobby, job, or skill! Remember to keep experimenting with new things, and looking for more tips from people who can cook. Apply these tips when you prepare your next meal.