Thursday, December 25, 2014

Kylee's Favorite Things Giveaway!



Merry Christmas, everyone! Yesterday on Fox59 I had the opportunity to talk about my favorite gifts for the cook in your life. These were the three products I talked about in the segment:
  1. Silpat Non-Stick Silicone Baking Mat: A Silpat baking mat is a must-have for anyone who uses their oven. I bake everything on it! Cookies bake evenly; parmesan chicken doesn’t stick, even cheese nachos slide right off. And all you have to do to clean it is wipe it with a damp cloth.
  2. EatSmart Precision Pro Digital Kitchen Scale: Ingredients are most accurately measured in weight rather than volume. So when you use a scale for baking, you’ll get more consistent results. This scale is my favorite because it has very clear readings, large numbers, and it comes in a variety of fun colors!
  3. Crock-Pot® Casserole Crock Slow Cooker: First of all, if you don’t already use a slow cooker this device will change your life. There is nothing more magical than coming home from work to an already-prepared meal. Secondly, the rectangular design of this particular Crock-Pot is a great idea. Why didn’t anyone think of this soon? It is now easier than ever to prepare everyone’s favorite casserole dishes, lasagna, and desserts.
Favorite Gifts for your Favorite Cook


This is a very special post because I am announcing my first giveaway! That's right, you could win 1 of 3 Silpat Silicone Baking Mats so you can start the new year off right with non-stick cooking! In order to enter, all you have to do is follow the instructions below. Good luck and thanks for reading Kylee's Kitchen!

Three People Will Win
  • A Silpat Non-Stick Silicone Baking Mat (valued at $19.99)

How to Enter
  1. Like Kylee’s Kitchen on Facebook
  2. Leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite recipe on Kylee’s Kitchen and why.
  3. This giveaway ends on Wednesday, December 31 at 12 a.m. EST. Winners will be chosen at random using a random number generator on Random.org.
  4. Winners will be notified via email and have 48 hours to respond before new winners are chosen. Winners will be listed on this post December 31st. Thank you for entering!
**This contest is now closed. Winners are entrants # (4) (7) (1). They will be notified via email. Thank you for participating in Kylee's Favorite Things Giveaway!***

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Peanut Butter Blossoms


Peabut Butter Blossoms is another type of cookie that we only make during the holidays. This recipe is my favorite because the cookie doesn't spread out too much so you get plenty of chocolate in each bite!

Peanut Butter Blossoms
Printable Recipe

Ingredients
  • 1 and 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup (or 1 stick) butter
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 48 chocolate Hershey's kisses
Directions
  1. Mix together the flour and baking soda in a medium bowl, set aside
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the peanut butter, butter, white sugar, and brown sugar for 2 to 3 minutes or until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the egg, vanilla, and milk to the large bowl and beat until fully incorporated or about 1 minute.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the large bowl and beat on low until just combined.
  5. Refrigerate the dough for at least two hours.
  6. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls
  7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 8 to 10 minutes until the edges start to turn brown.
  8. Remove from oven and immediately place an unwrapped hershey kiss in the center of the cookie.
  9. Cool cookies on sheet for ten minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.




Sunday, December 21, 2014

Classic Spritz Cookies


Spritz cookies are the cookies I most associate with the holidays. Mainly because we only make them during the holidays and we always make them in the shape of Christmas trees. 

Spritz cookies have always been my favorite. I love the dough (don't tell my mom that I eat it), I love the classic buttery taste, and I love the fact that they're small enough that you can eat two or three (or four or five)!

The secret to making these cookies is making sure the dough is chilled and hard enough that it comes out of the cookie press firmly, that way the shape of the cutter stays (meaning it doesn't melt into one big blob).








Classic Spritz Cookies

Ingredients
  • 2 and 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) salted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
You will also need a cookie press, although I suppose you could make this same recipe without one - they just won't come out in fun shapes!

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Mix flour and baking powder in medium bowl and set aside
  3. Combing butter, sugar, egg, and almond extract in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often until creamy.
  4. Slowly add flour mixture to large bowl and beat at low speed until well-mixed.
  5. Chill dough for about an hour.
  6. Fit cookie press with desired template and fill press with dough.
  7. Press dough onto ungreased cookie sheet about one inch apart. Sprinkle with decorator sugar or other desired sprinkles.
  8. Bake cookie for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges are light brown.


Friday, December 19, 2014

Crock Pot Sausage, Egg & Hashbrown Casserole






I’m a big fan of breakfast. I mean, who isn’t?! But sometimes it’s a pain to cook it for a big group of people. By the time you cook up the eggs, and fry the sausage, and serve it out, everyone has already eaten before you get a chance to sit down. So when I was thinking of breakfast recipes that would work well for Christmas morning, I turned to the crockpot. When using a crockpot, everything is done all at once and you can cook it on your own time – you don’t have to worry about racing to the oven in the middle of unwrapping gifts just to check on it.

Additionally, with this slow cooker recipe, the eggs turn out super fluffy and the flavor from the sausage and the onion have time to fully develop. It reheats well too! I made this recipe for myself this week and I took it to work for breakfast. Delcious! Also, I should add that there are only 317 calories per serving! That’s pretty dang good as far as breakfast casseroles go. Enjoy!


Crock Pot Sausage, Egg & Hashbrown Casserole
Servings: 8
Calories per serving: 317
Printable Recipe

Ingredients
·      1/2 pound Italian sausage roll
·      3 bell peppers, chopped
·      1/2 medium white onion, chopped
·      30 ounce bag frozen, shredded hash browns
·      8 ounces shredded, fat-free cheddar cheese
·      6 green onions, sliced thin
·      12 eggs
·      1/2 cup milk
·      1/2 teaspoon salt
·      1/4 teaspoon pepper
·      Non-stick cooking spray

Directions
1.     Cook your sausage in a skillet over medium-high heat until it’s just browned. It’s ok if it’s still a little pink because it will cook in the crock pot.
2.     Remove sausage from skillet and add your chopped bell peppers and onion to the skillet. Sauté for about 3-5 minutes or until they start to get a little tender. And remove from skilled.
3.     Lightly spray your crock pot with non-stick cooking spray.
4.     Layer half of bag of the hash browns into the bottom of the skillet. On top of the, add half of the sausage, half of the cheese, half of the white onion /bell pepper mixture, and one-third of the green onions.
5.     Repeat the previous step for a second layer of the casserole. Put the 1/3 of green onion that is left into the refrigerator (you will sprinkle this on top when it’s all done).
6.     In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper, and slowly pour it over the top of the casserole
7.     Turn your crock pot on and cook until the eggs or set (2-3 hours at high or 4-5 hours at low. I cooked mine for 3 hours at high.)
8.     When it’s all cooked, sprinkle remaining green onions on top and serve. You can add hot sauce for an extra kick!

Recipe adapted from My Fitness Pal

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Yia Yia's Famous Baklava


It wouldn’t make sense for me to start this post without first talking about my Yia Yia. My 88-year-old Yia Yia has always been one of the wittiest and sharp-tongued women I know.

When I was 6-years-old, she moved from South Bend to Florida. After she moved, I was only able to see her once a year when my family visited for spring break. But I will say she was always good for an hour-long phone call! She could talk your ear off!

In March of this year, we received horrible news – Yia Yia suffered a stroke. And more than anything, it affects her ability to find her words while trying to speak. This is devastating because her words were always such a big part of her personality.

Additionally, because of the stroke, Yia Yia was no longer able to live without full-time assistance. So in July she moved back home to South Bend.  And for the first time since I was 6, I have been able to see Yia Yia on a monthly basis.

This year, Yia Yia was able to take part in my little family’s yearly tradition – making baklava for the holidays. My mom and dad and I have always used Yia Yia’s recipe, but she was never around to make it with us.

While we were making the baklava I could tell that for the first time since her stroke, she seemed back to her normal self. It was a very special experience, and I will always remember it.

Yia Yia's Famous Baklava

Ingredients
For the baklava
·      1 pound filo
·      3/4 pound unsalted butter, melted
·      1 and 1/4 pound walnuts finely chopped

For the syrup
·      2/3 cup light Karo syrup
·      1 and 1/3 cup honey
·      2/3 cup water
·      1 cinnamon stick

You also need a 9x13 baking pan and a pastry brush

Directions for the baklava
1.     Lightly butter a 9x13 baking pan.
2.     Unroll filo dough and cover with a cool cloth to keep from drying out as you work. You need to work quickly because the filo sheets will dry out!
3.     Carefully place one sheet of filo at the bottom of the baking pan.
4.     Dip pastry brush in melted butter and butter layer of filo thoroughly.
5.     Do the same thing with four more sheets of filo – placing a sheet in the baking pan and then buttering.
6.     Lay a sixth sheet of filo in the pan, but DO NOT butter this sheet.
7.     Evenly distribute 1 cup of the chopped walnuts on this layer of filo.
8.     Now repeat the process again, but this time you’ll only layer three sheets. So it will look like this: filo, butter, filo, butter, filo, nuts. Continue this process until you have five layers of nuts.
9.     The last layer will consist of 6 sheets of filo – just like the bottom layer.
10. Once you’ve layered 6 sheets pour the extra butter in the saucepan on top. But DO NOT dump all of the butter. In your saucepan of  melted butter you will see a white creamy bottom layer. This is the milk of the butter. Do not put the milk of the butter on the baklava – just the top layer. Discard the milk of the butter when finished.
11. Refrigerate the baklava until the butter hardens (approximately 1 hour).
12. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
13. Score the baklava in 4 straight lines.
14. Put baklava in the oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the baklava is lightly browned.

Directions for the syrup
1.     While baklava is baking, combine all ingredients in a saucepan and cook on medium heat.
2.      Let the syrup come to a boil and then cool.
3.     Once the baklava has been pulled from the oven, let it rest five minutes and then pour the entire saucepan of syrup on top. *Rule of thumb: Pour cool syrup over hot baklava so the syrup soaks into the baklava.*
4.     Refrigerate baklava for 24 hours so that the syrup can fully soak into the baklava.
5.     Cut into isosceles triangles when ready to serve.
6.     Serve baklava in cupcake wrappers.
7.     The baklava will keep in the refrigerator for up to a month – if you don’t eat it all before then!

ADDITIONAL NOTE: There are 2 rolls of filo in the package.  Keep one roll in the refrigerator while you are making the baklava.  Sometimes the sheets are not all usable (there torn or crumbly) and you may have to discard some sheets.  If that is the case, you will need to use the second roll. Any unused filo may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.






























Saturday, December 13, 2014

Super Quick Caramel Corn


I love popcorn in any way, shape, and form. I love caramel corn, kettle corn, cheddar popcorn - heck, I've even tried dill pickle flavored popcorn and liked it. So when someone shows me a way to make homemade carmel corn in under 15 minutes -- I say count me in! 

You can either use stovetop popcorn, microwave popcorn, or store bought popcorn for this recipe, but I will say that stovetop popcorn tastes the best (you can definitely taste a difference). 

This recipe would also make a good holiday gift. You can put it in cute little holiday bags and hand it out to your neighbors and friends. Or you can keep it all for yourself. I'm a big supporter of that too.

Thanks to my mom's students Alex and Nicole Collins for sharing this delicious recipe with us!



Super Quick Caramel Corn
Printable Recipe

Ingredients
  • 1 stick (or 1/2 cup) salted butter
  • 1/4 cup Karo Light Corn Syrup
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 16 cups popped popcorn
Directions
  1. Microwave butter, corn syrup, and brown sugar on high in covered dish for 2 minutes.
  2. Remove from microwave and stir for about 30 seconds
  3. Put covered dish back in microwave and cook on high for an additional three minutes
  4. Remove from microwave and add baking soda and stir for 30 seconds. mixture will thicken.
  5. Pour mixture over popped popcorn and shake bowl of popcorn.
  6. Put bowl of popcorn in microwave for one minute. 
  7. Remove from oven and shake.
  8. Put bowl of popcorn back in microwave and heat for an additional 45 seconds.
  9. Remove from oven and shake.
  10. Put bowl of popcorn back in microwave and heat for an additional 30 seconds.
  11. Remove from oven and shake.
  12. In order to let the popcorn cool, pour onto a baking sheet covered in wax paper.
  13. Let cool for a half hour.



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