Kats’ Kitchen

Herb Loaf & Beef Stew March 23, 2017

Filed under: Bread,Main Dishes,soup — stacielk @ 2:00 pm
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Beef Stew

I have to be honest, there are many recipes on this site that I have made one time and have not made again.  The main reason is because there are SO many recipes out there that I want to try and if I continue making the same ones, I will never get around to all of them!  Don’t get me wrong, there are many on here that I do make regularly.

buttery-herb-loafThis is one of those recipes.  I made exactly 3 years ago to the month.  Butterflake Herb Loaf.  I remember it being really good.  Peeling it apart and enjoying every buttery flavorful bite.  The ends were crusted with butter that oozed out the sides.  I served this herb loaf this time with ribs.  With leftovers I made Steak Pizzaiolas using this as the bottom ‘bread’ part.  Still make those Pizzaiolas regularly!!!  It’s one of my husbands and my favorites!

And now for the beef stew.  I have not been a meal planner lately.  When I attempt to meal plan, I find myself changing meals throughout the week, swapping, not making them etc.  I saw this Beef Stew recipe from a blog called Pinch of Yum I ran down to my freezer to make sure I had a chuck roast so I could make it for dinner the next day.  I loved it.  It was flavorful, comforting and the meat was so tender.  I  served it with Parmesan cheese and crusty bread.  Head over to Pinch of Yum for some beautiful pictures that made me make this stew!

Beef Stew

2 lbs beef, chuck roast, fat trimmed, cut into 1-2-inch chunks

1 medium onion, sliced thinly

2 stalks celery, sliced diagonally in thick pieces

6 carrots, sliced diagonally in thick pieces

2 tablespoons tapioca (omitted – as thickener, I coated my beef in flour and saute as described below)

1/2 cup tomato juice (I used 3/4 of a small can of tomato paste with 1/2 can water)

2 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon sugar

Traditional Oven Instructions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. (If using oven, mix meet with flour and saute in some oil in a skillet.  Place all ingredients in a large Dutch oven. Cover and bake for 4 hours.

Life Changing Instant Pot Instructions: (I first mixed my beef pieces in flour and saute them in Instant Pot on ‘saute’ setting for 3-5 min)  Place everything in the Instant Pot and select the stew/meat setting (about 35 minutes). After it’s done, let everything mellow out for about 10 minutes before releasing the steam.

Whether you make this in the oven or in the Instant Pot, I recommend finishing by giving it about 10-20 minutes in a hot oven (about 350-400 degrees), uncovered, before serving. It gets the meat nice and caramelized on top and helps the gravy thicken up.  (Definitely if you have time do this last step, but still good without caramelizing)


I usually add a little water to the gravy if it starts to thicken too much as it cools. Personally, I prefer it this to be less like a soup and more like a really saucy beef stew. We serve it on plates with hot, crusty, buttery bread. For my salad, all I had on hand was baby spinach, so I just tossed it with a quick 5 minute shake-in-a-jar dressing: olive oil, grainy mustard, vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper.

Recipe from Pinch of Yum (my changes in italics)


Honey Pear Bread September 11, 2015

Filed under: Bread,Breakfast — stacielk @ 10:45 am
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Hi!  I’m not sure if I should welcome you back or myself back.  It’s been a long 7 months!  Since my last post our family has welcomed a new little pumpkin to the family.  She is a month now and I’m ready to get my baking hat back on!  Honestly, I think it’s been 2 months since I’ve baked anything!  (and I can’t blame the Summer heat, the 90 degree days usually don’t turn me away from starting up my oven :) I’m ready to get back to it.  I can’t promise how much I’ll be posting but I’m happy to be getting this one on my blog!

Pear bread.  Never even thought of making this until my neighbor, who has a pear tree in their yard, delivered a bag full of pears.  Too many pears to eat, although they are delicious fresh!  So I went on a quick search for some pear recipes and came across this one.  It turned out fantastic.  The spices together with the sweet chunks of pear went well together. Besides a cut in my hand and forgetting to set the oven timer, the bread was a success!

My house smelled wonderful as the loaves baked in my oven.  Like Fall.  Mmmm.  Enjoy!


Honey Pear BreadPEAR BRD

1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup applesauce
1/4 cup honey

2 splashes milk (about 1/8 cup)
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 T vanilla extract

1 1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
3 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground allspice
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3 TB ground flax meal (dry)

4 cups of very firm pears, chopped

Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease 3 medium loaf, 1 large loaf pans or muffin tins.

In a bowl, combine brown sugar, coconut oil, applesauce and honey.  Stir together.  Stir in the eggs and vanilla to incorporate.

In another bowl, combine salt, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, allspice, all-purpose and wheat flours, and flax meal.  Mix dry ingredients well.

Gently fold honey mixture into dry ingredients, just until completely moistened.  Gently fold in pears.

Pour batter into prepared pan(s) and bake 40-50 minutes for medium loaves, 60 for large or 18-23 for muffins (please check as needed with a toothpick)

Recipe adopted from Chew Out Loud


Focaccia February 9, 2015

Filed under: Bread — stacielk @ 11:08 am
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Focaccia is something that has been on a list in my mind to make for a long time.  Not sure why I didn’t make it sooner, it is super easy and the recipe I used turned out really really good!  The texture was great, the seasoning was great, dipped in a bit of oil or eating it by itself, it was delicious!

This recipe came from a neat recipe book I received for Christmas called Three Sisters Bake by the Reith Sisters who opened up a bakery of their own in Scotland.


Sea Salt and Oregano Focaccia

7 1/2 cups (2 lbs) white bread flour

2 tsp salt

1 oz instant yeast

2 1/2 fl oz olive oil

3 tsp sea salt


Grease a 9×13 roasting pan with olive oil.

With a dough hook, mix flour, salt and yeast.  Add 2 cups (1 pint) tepid water and the 2 1/2 fl oz olive oil.  Knead for 10 minutes adding a bit of additional flour if needed to form a smooth and glossy ball of dough.

Place dough in roasting tin and press into rough rectangle.  Cover with oiled suran wrap and let double in size in a warm place for about 1 1/2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350.

Remove the suran wrap.  Pull the dough from middle to corners of tin.  Sprinkle with oregano and sea salt (or seasoning of choice and press your fingers into dough to create the focaccia dimples.  Drizzle with olive oil.

Bake for 16-18 minutes.

Serve hot or cold, with extra virgin olive oil or balsamic vinegar for dipping.

Recipe from Three Sisters Bake


Butterflake Herb Loaf March 4, 2014

Filed under: Bread — stacielk @ 7:00 am
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buttery-herb-loafIt is a good thing I have self control, well most of the time.  This bread was delicious!  I seriously could have eaten the entire loaf for dinner, skipped all the other stuff that was served on our table, ate piece after piece of this bread that you just pull apart.  It was buttery, herby, flavorful, delicious!  I pretty much followed the recipe that King Arthur Flour has on their website, but did change a couple things slightly.  Below is the original recipe and in parenthesis are my changes.  As mentioned on KA’s site, you can really add whatever herbs in the butter spread OR you could make it sweet and make a cinnamon-sugar mixture for it.  Next time, I will make half and half.  Some for breakfast, some for dinner :)

Oh and we dug right into the center of this thing.  Although, I thought the edges were just as delicious as the center.  Not sure if it was from the butter seeping to the sides OR the special pan my grandma passed down to me.

Butterflake Herb Loaf

1 cup milk (skim)

1/4 cup butter (softened)

3 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons salt (I used garlic salt…but don’t recommend if using half the dough for something sweet :)

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons instant yeast or active dry yeast

4 1/4 to 4 3/4 cups Flour (start with 3 1/2 cups, I used 3 cups AP and 1/2 c whole wheat…to make it healthier, haha)

buttery-herb-loaf-022 tablespoons potato flour (about 1 T mashed potatoes)

Place softened butter in your bread machine.  Warm milk in microwave until just boiling and pour over butter.  Place sugar and salt into the milk mixture and let this mixture cool till about 110 degrees.  Place remaining ingredients (start with 3 1/2 cup flour) in pan and set to ‘dough’ cycle.  After a few minutes of starting the cycle, check the dough and add more flour if needed, until you can touch dough and it will not stick to your finger.  Let cycle continue until it is finished.

Deflate dough and roll out to 1/2 inch thick.  Cut rectangles/squares (or circles) and butter half of each piece with the below butter herb filling, fold in half and place in pan until all pieces are buttered and folded.  Let bread rise for 30-60 minutes until doubled.  Bake at 350 for 25-35 minutes until baked through.  Cover with foil if top is getting to brown.

For step-by-step directions on rolling, cutting, butterying and folding click here.

Butter Herb Filling

1/2 cup unsalted butter, soft

1/2 teaspoon caraway or chopped fennel seed (omitted)

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon grated onion or chopped chives (onion pwd)

1/4 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (paprika

1 clove garlic, minced (omitted by accident)

Mix butter herb filling ingredients together.  Use in above bread loaf recipe.  You can certainly change this filling recipe up to whatever you have in your cabinets.  Sweet or savory!

Recipe from King Arthur Flour 


Homemade Burger Buns November 18, 2013

Filed under: Bread,Main Dishes — stacielk @ 7:00 am
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If I could, I would make these buns once a week and never ever ever buy hamburger buns again.  That is how much I LOVE these buns.  They of course are great for hamburgers, but they also work great with shredded meat or even sandwiches to have or throw in a lunch bag.

I have made these buns a number of times and I’ve only had them mess up on me once.  Keep an eye on the dough while it is in the machine.  If it seems to wet/sticky, add more flour.  I did not add flour once when I thought it seemed to sticky and the buns turned out pretty flat, we still ate them, but they weren’t as good as they should have been.  So I tried a few days later, added a couple tablespoons of flour, and they turned out great.

They freeze wonderfully also!  I try to keep a stash in my freezer for last minute dinners, sandwiches, etc.

Head over to Favoritefamilyfoods for the recipe (http://favoritefamilyfoods.wordpress.com/2012/04/23/homemade-burger-buns/)  (sorry….my linky isn’t working correctly so had to include the actual link) Don’t forget to read the tips above the recipe, they are definitely helpful.


Everyday Bread May 30, 2013

Filed under: Bread — stacielk @ 7:00 am


***Update:  So I probably posted this recipe a bit early.  I had just made the bread and tried it only a time or two.  After a few days , the bread was pretty dry and crumbly, it did this much faster than I expected (even with putting it in a plastic bag after one day), especially for bread that can supposedly sit on your counter for a week…I wanted to delete this post because of this but I’m human, I don’t always have successes, and maybe this post will help you in your bread making in one way or another!  ***

I really enjoyed paging through a cookbook called Make the Bread Buy the Butter by Jennifer Reese.  It goes through many different grocery items that you should/could or shouldn’t cook from scratch.  Of course, I read through it knowing I would NOT be starting to make every single item in my kitchen from scratch, as much as I would love to, but it was informative as to what was easy to make, like this bread, and what is not worth taking the time to make from scratch.

I love the idea of this Everyday Bread recipe that Jennifer wrote about.  Supposedly it will last an entire week on my kitchen counter in a brown bag (that is if it isn’t eaten first) and it was so easy to whip together.  It is a heavier bread, so don’t expect a light french bread type loaf.  I’ve had a couple of pieces fresh out of the oven and one toasted with tomato and cheese.  I can imagine myself eating it as a sandwich or even toasting it up with some jam.  The other reason I love the idea of making this bread, possibly every couple of weeks, is because I know exactly what is in it and it doesn’t have any crazy ingredients!

Everyday Bread Makes 1 loaf

1/2 t instant yeast

1 3/4 cup water, room temp

2 3/4 cup flour

3/4 cup + 2 T whole wheat flour

2-3 T flax seeds (opt)

2 tsp kosher salt

Oil a 9×5 metal loaf pan.

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and scrape into pan.  Cover with damp dish towel and let rise 2-4 hours until level with top of pan.

Note:  Original recipe says 2 hrs.  My bread sat on the counter for two hours and wasn’t near ready so I used my dough rise setting on my oven and let it rise in the oven for 45+ minutes until it got level to the pan.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees and bake loaf for 30 minutes.  Remove from pan and bake directly on rack for 15 minutes more.

Note:  I did not bake for the remaining 15 minutes, I pulled it out after 30 and was worried that it was already TOO done, so I skipped the 15 minutes.  It was baked through when I cut into it but I may try the extra 15 minutes next time to see what it does to the bread.

As recommended with all breads, cool before slicing.

Recipe from Make the Bread Buy the Butter by Jennifer Reese


Creamy Chicken and Rice with Steakhouse Wheat Bread September 26, 2012

Filed under: Bread,Chicken — stacielk @ 7:00 am
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This is what I had for supper last night!  Two new recipes with much success!  Let’s start with the main dish.  It was a Creamy Chicken and Rice (casserole).  Pretty simple to make, I added an extra step for myself by making homemade cream soup using my friend’s recipe from Favorite Family Foods.  You can find it here.  Overall the casserole baked up nicely.  I doubled the cracker/butter topping to add a bit more topping, because that is my favorite part of casseroles like these.  (sorry no pic of the dish, I can never take appetizing looking casserole pictures anyway :)

As for bread to serve with this dish, I was stumped.  I have recently made Honey Wheat Rolls, French Bread (without bread machine), French Bread (with bread machine) and Homemade Dinner Rolls.  All recipes I have made time and time again.  I was ready to try something new and a recipe for steakhouse bread came to mind.  A recipe I marked probably 6ish years ago, but ended up tossing it.  So I went to the handy-dandy internet and searched for a recipe and sure enough, allrecipes.com did not fail.  It was delicious.  A  nice added sweetness to a bread recipe.  A couple strange ingredients that I wouldn’t have imagined ever putting in bread, like cocoa pwd and instant coffee, but it turned out wonderful!  You can find the original recipe here.  Below is the recipe with a few minor changes I have made to it.  (the whole in my lovely bread is from our nice little bread machine gadget getting ripped out of the bottom…next time I will try to be a bit more gentle.)

Here are the two recipes.  Enjoy!

Creamy Chicken and Rice

1 pkg of 1/3 less salt, Chicken Flavor rice & vermicceli mix with chicken broth and herb (Rice-a-Roni)

1 T butter

2 1/4 cup hot watter

cooking spray/olive oil

1 1/2 lbs chicken breast cubed

8 oz fresh mushrooms, chopped

1/2 tsp garlic powder

3/4 cup sour cream

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 can cream of mushroom soup (if you want to make the homemade version check the recipe out here!)

1/2 cup crushed crackers

1 T butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350.

Cook rice according to pkg; using 1 T butter and 2 1/4 cup hot water; remove from pan when done and set aside in large bowl.

Using same pan, spray with cooking spray or spread oil to coat pan.  Add chicken, mushroom and garlic powder.  Saute until chicken is no longer pink.

In large bowl with rice mixture, add the chicken mixture, sour cream, pepper and soup; mix well.

Spread in greased 9×13 pan.

Mix crackers and butter; stir well.  Sprinkle on top of chicken mixture.

Bake at 350 for 35 minutes.

Recipe from Tried & True – Real Recipes from Real Moms

Steakhouse Wheat Bread

3/4 cup warm water

1 tablespoon butter, softened

1/4 cup honey

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon instant coffee granules

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tablespoon white sugar

1 1/2 cup bread flour (plus more after checking bread machine)

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 1/4 teaspoons bread machine yeast

Place the warm water, butter, honey, salt, coffee, cocoa, sugar, bread flour, whole wheat flour, and bread machine yeast in the pan of a bread machine in the order listed. Put on regular or basic cycle with light crust.  Check machine after 3 minutes and add more flour, if necessary.

Recipe from allrecipes.com