Doughnut Muffins

There are lots of aspects to chimney repair—including snack provision!

We are so fortunate to have creative, able-bodied Brothers who can handle challenging construction and repair projects!  The chimney in our Guest House has shown signs of disintegration—not surprising with years of winter and summer storms.  And with COVID-19 lockdown, with no guests or retreats—a very unusual time for us—what better time for chimney repair!  As we watched out the window, scaffolding going up, platforms, bins to receive old bricks, cement mixing, with dogs roaming around looking on, it was a given that we would supply snacks.  This Doughnut Muffin recipe was an experiment, and the idea of dipping the hot muffins in melted butter and then rolling in cinnamon sugar was very appealing to me, and by the looks of the empty plate, it was to everyone else as well!

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Doughnut Muffins
SERVINGS
12
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
30minutes
PREP TIME
30minutes
READY IN
1hour

Ingredients

Instructions

Instructions
  1. Set oven at 350 degrees
  2. In an electric mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar; blend in eggs, one at a time.
  3. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg.
  4. Mix together alternately wet and dry ingredients until well combined, but without over mixing.
  5. Grease and flour standard size muffin tin.
  6. Scoop enough batter (about ½ cup or # 16 ice-cream scoop) to reach rim of cup
  7. Bake until firm, about 30”
To Finish
  1. Combine sugar and cinnamon
  2. When the muffins are cool enough to handle, dip them in melted butter and then roll them in cinnamon sugar

Recipe adapted from Fine Cooking - See the original recipe at finecooking.com

A Burst of Italian Flavor – Old World Eggplant Parmigiana

I never expect to see shiny, plump and beautiful eggplant in the grocery store until mid/late summer, but we’ve gotten lucky this year as a booming crop became readily available in our local market (unlike the empty paper towel and toilet paper shelves!) Since this is one of my favorite summer comfort foods, I thought I’d share and old world recipe with you. (If you want to skip a step and use purchased tomato sauce, that’s a great time saving option.)

You might ask why you need to soak your eggplant in salt water first.  This does two things: it draws out any of the bitter juices that can be found in older eggplant and tightens up the flesh, making the eggplant less likely to soak up too much oil when you are frying them. This recipe will make 2 – 9×13″ pans. Since it can be a bit time consuming to make, it enables you to put one pan away in the freezer for another time.

Andiamo a Mangiare!

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Old World Eggplant Parmigiana
SERVINGS
12
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
45minutes
PREP TIME
2hours
READY IN
3hours

Ingredients

Instructions

Prepare the Sauce and Eggplant
  1. Wash eggplant. Remove the top and bottom from the eggplant and slice across into 1/2" rounds (no need to peel) Submerge in a large bowl of cold water with 3 Tbsp Salt. Put a plate across the top of the bowl to keep the eggplant submerged. Let soak 30 min to 1 hr.
  2. Prepare the sauce: In a medium pot on top of the stove, heat the oil and add diced onion and a teaspoon of sugar. Cook over low heat until the onions are translucent and soft.
  3. Add the torn basil leaves, oregano and garlic. Continue cooking for another minute, watching that the garlic doesn't burn. Add the the salt and pepper and the tomatoes and the remaining sugar, if desired.
  4. Continue cooking over low heat until the flavors meld. Let simmer 30 min. Adjust seasonings to taste.
  5. Drain eggplant and dry on paper towels
  6. Mix together the Flour, salt and pepper on one plate. In a second large shallow bowl or pie plate, beat the eggs together.
  7. One at a time, dip the eggplant in the seasoned flour and then in the beaten eggs
  8. Heat oil in a large skillet or fry pan
  9. Fry the eggplants until golden on one side and then turn to continue frying on the other side. Remove to a paper lined sheet pan.
  10. When all the eggplant are fried, you are ready to assemble!
Assemble
  1. Spray two 9X13" pan with PAM spray
  2. Put a thin layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of each pan
  3. Lightly sprinkle with the grated pecorino romano cheese
  4. Layer the eggplant slices - touching but not overlapping
  5. Sprinkle grated mozzarella over
  6. Lightly sprinkle with grated pecorino romano cheese
  7. Continue layering in this order: Sauce Eggplant Pecorino Romano Mozzarella Sauce Eggplant Pecorino Romano Sprinkle Chopped Parsley Mozzarella End with Sauc
  8. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees F. for 45 min. Let rest 10-15 min.

Easy and Delicious – Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

There is no better time than the present to spread some JOY! Thanks to our friends at King Arthur Flour, I did some baking this weekend. In our Convent, Sr. Elizabeth loves to bake chocolate chip cookies, and if you’re lucky enough to be walking through the kitchen when she’s baking, she’ll always stop and give you the one “that didn’t come out quite perfect.”

With children home from school and spouses trying to work remotely, why not take some time to make a batch of these yummy cookies and enjoy the smiles they’ll bring. Another side benefit are the wonderful smells that come into your kitchen. In these uncertain times, warm cookies fresh from the oven warm hearts as well!

(Note: If you use a digital scale to measure the ingredients, they will come out perfectly!)

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Easy and Delicious - Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
SERVINGS
50cookies
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
cookies
COOK TIME
12-13minutes
PREP TIME
12minutes
READY IN
45minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line 4 cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.
  2. Beat together the butter and sugars until smooth.
  3. Beat in the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla.
  4. Whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda and salt, and add to the butter mixture in the bowl.
  5. Mix until everything is incorporated (no need to over mix), scraping the bottom of the bowl.
  6. Stir in the chocolate chips
  7. Using a 1" cookie scoop or ice cream scoop, drop a dozen cookies on each sheet pan in rows of 3 - spreading evenly apart.
  8. Bake at 325° for 12 to 13 minutes or until golden brown on the edges. Remove from the oven, cool on the sheet pan for another couple of minutes (they will continue baking slightly)and then carefully slide the parchment with cookies to the counter to cool. This recipe will make 50 cookies.

Springtime Borscht

Recently, another Sister and I shared our borscht recipes and memories! Like any well-loved food, memories play a part in its enjoyment. Our experiences of eating borscht are different but surprisingly parallel. Sr. Monica spent two months living at a Convent in Estonia when it was still part of the USSR. She has vivid memories of being there as the coup occurred when Gorbachev was still in power. I remember it too, because I was in Poland at the time, singing with our choir, Gloriae Dei Cantores. We had no way to communicate with our Sisters in Estonia since cell phones and e-mail were unavailable to us in 1991. We relied on prayer for their safety.  Often, a particular recipe is a vehicle for comfort, even solace. We have had difficult times in the past, but we know God’s love is available to us. We offer this heartwarming recipe to you, along with our prayers for a healthy spring.

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Springtime Borscht
SERVINGS
8
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
1hour
PREP TIME
4.5hours
READY IN
5.5hours

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Put the meat in a crockpot with 8 cups cold water, red pepper flakes, bay leaves and 1 Tbsp salt. Set on high for 4 hours. Cook until fork tender. Remove meat and strain and reserve the broth. Set aside
  2. While the Beef is cooking, wrap beets in foil and place in a 400 degree oven—roast for 1hr. until fork tender. Cool slightly, but while they are still warm, remove the top, bottom and skin with a pairing knife (skins should come off easily if properly cooked) and either grate or julienne the beets. Set aside.
  3. Heat a large stockpot and add 4 Tbsp olive oil and 2 Tbsp. butter and sauté onion for 2 min. Add diced potato and sauté another 5 min or until beginning to soften. Add the grated carrot, cabbage and garlic and 2 Tbsp vinegar and sauté for 5 minutes.
  4. Reduce heat to med/low and add the beets, 2 Tbsp sugar and 2 Tbsp tomato paste. Mix thoroughly and add the reserved strained broth and extra 2-3 cups beef broth. (I used' Better than Bouillon' Roasted Beef Base)
  5. Simmer and cover until vegetables are tender. Add the diced, cooked Beef and 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill. Remove from heat and leave covered until flavors meld. Add 1/4 tsp pepper (If desired), and salt to taste. Adjust flavors to taste (you may want to add a bit more vinegar or sugar)
  6. Serve warm or cold with a dollop of sour cream and a sprig of fresh dill.

Magi Sugar Cookies

“O Star of wonderStar of night, Star with royal beauty bright…Guide us to thy perfect light.”  How wondrous the Star that leads the Magi to the Infant Christ!  And as we continue to celebrate this season so filled with awe and beauty, it lends itself to more creativity as we prepare treats for the many Yuletide events—(or for any festive occasion!)

 

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Magi Sugar Cookies
SERVINGS
24-36cookies
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
cookies
COOK TIME
15minutes
PREP TIME
2 hours 15minutes
READY IN
2 hours 30 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Beat the butter and sugar in mixer bowl until light and fluffy; add egg and flavorings and beat until smooth.
  2. Reduce mixer speed to low, and after sifting flour, baking powder and salt together, add slowly until just blended.
  3. Divide dough in half, forming 2 disks, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour, until firm, or longer if need be. It will need to be pliable to be able to roll out.
  4. Using a sprinkling of flour, roll out dough to about an 1/8’ thickness. Cut out your desired shapes; place on baking sheet and bake for about 15” or until slightly golden. Let cool for a few minutes before glazing them.
  5. In a medium size bowl, mix by hand, the sifted confectioners’ sugar, milk, corn syrup, salt, and flavorings until smooth and well blended. Depending upon the colors you’re using, divide glaze into separate dishes, adding colors
  6. Holding the cookie, gently lay it on top of the glaze, so that surface is covered. Set aside for a few minutes and then decorate with colored sprinkles of your choice, before glaze sets too firmly.

No-bake Mini-Cheesecake Parfaits

Advent is truly a wondrous time—so full of beauty, expectancy and hope.  It’s also a time of expressing love and gratitude to those we work with all year long!  Here’s a wonderfully simple recipe to serve at any kind of Christmas gathering, with minimal preparation, and with a delicious and lovely result!

 

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No-bake Mini-Cheesecake Parfaits
SERVINGS
12
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
10
PREP TIME
20
READY IN
40

Ingredients

Instructions

Filling
  1. In electric mixer, with paddle attachment, beat cream cheese, heavy cream and sugar until smooth. Add the lemon juice, zest and vanilla; continue beating until light and fluffy.
  2. Add a layer of graham cracker crumbs to the bottom of shooters. (For a richer “crust”, mix in 4 tablespoons melted butter first)
  3. Top the layer of cracker crumbs with cheesecake filling, spooning a slight indentation for strawberry topping
Strawberry Topping
  1. Combine chopped berries, cornstarch/warm water mixture, sugar and lemon juice. Bring to gentle boil and allow to simmer until thickened, about 5 Minutes, adding food coloring if desired.
  2. Allow to cool, about 10 minutes (or faster in refrigerator)
  3. Spoon topping onto parfaits and serve, or refrigerate if desired

Note: Best served in 2 1/2 oz glass shooters!

Recipe adapted from "Just a Taste". - See the original recipe at the justataste.com website