Kats’ Kitchen

Herb Loaf & Beef Stew March 23, 2017

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

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)


Butterflake Herb Loaf March 4, 2014

Filed under: Bread — stacielk @ 7:00 am
Tags: , ,

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 


Butter Pecan Turtle Bars September 12, 2012

Filed under: Brownies/Bars & Other Sweets — stacielk @ 7:00 am
Tags: , , , ,

Butter Pecan Turtle Bars – not sure how else to introduce these lovely things.  The bar starts out with a shortbread crust.  Loving shortbread more and more as I make things with it.  Then comes a caramely, buttery pecan layer and the bar ends with a nice layer of chocolate.  This would be a great holiday treat or perfect for a hot September day :)  I made a few changes which I will note below.  I would make them exactly as I did the first time, nothing needed to be different!

Sorry about the long periods of time between posts.  No good excuse as usual.  Also, I will apologize ahead of time b/c 1-3 posts per month (after maybe a couple of months off) may be the new Kats’ Kitchen for a while, due to baby #2 arriving in a month.

Butter Pecan Turtle Bars

1 cup flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup soft butter

1/2 cup whole/chopped pecans

Combine first three ingredients in a mixer and pat in a 8×8 in pan.  Sprinkle with whole/chopped pecans.  (I used chopped but would try whole next time for a more ‘turtle’ type bar and to bring out the pecan a bit more).

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup butter

1/2 cup milk chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet and would definitely try dark chocolate b/c I love it, you use what you like best.  Also I added probably 1/4-1/2 cup chocolate chips and made an entire layer of chocolate instead of swirling it into the caramel which seemed a bit difficult to do and who doesn’t like more chocolate?)

Over medium heat cook the above first two ingredients together.  Stir constantly and boil 30-60 seconds.  Pour evenly over the pecans and crust.  Bake at 350 degrees for 18-22 minutes or until caramel layer is bubbly and crust is lightly browned (which I founded tough to see through the caramel layer).  Remove from oven and sprinkle immediately with chips.  Allow to melt then swirl/spread around.

Recipe from Prized Recipes to Cook and Savor by PRCS


Almond Coffee Cake August 6, 2012

Filed under: Breakfast — stacielk @ 7:00 am
Tags: , , ,

I first want to say I do not think this picture does this coffee cake justice.  I should have taken a picture of a cut piece of the coffee cake, but that probably wouldn’t have done much either.  My opinion, you just have to make it for yourself!

I get my almond paste during the holiday at a grocery store in my area called Walts.  They carry it in the bakery area in a fridge.  I have never used the stuff from a can so I can’t give an opinion on that stuff.  Almond paste freezers really well so I usually stock up around the holiday so I can have a special treat like this throughout the year.

This is a really moist rich almondy coffee cake.  I wouldn’t hesitate serving it as a dessert and leftovers for breakfast the next morning.

Almond Coffee Cake

1 ½ sticks margarine, softened (12 T)

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 cup sour cream

8 oz almond paste

½ tsp vanilla


½ cup sugar

1 cup flour

½ stick margarine, softened (4 T)


1 cup powdered sugar

½ tsp almond extract

2 T milk

Preheat oven to 375.  Mix first 3 ingredients.  Add flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, sour cream and vanilla.  Mix well.  Crumble up almond paste, add to mixture and mix until broken in smaller pieces throughout batter.  Pour into a greased and floured 9×13.

Mix topping ingredients until crumbly and sprinkle on top of batter.  Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes.  Test with a toothpick to make sure it is done.

Prepare icing and drizzle over cooled cake.

Recipe slightly adopted from Tried and True:  Real Recipes from Real Moms


Raisin Bran Muffins July 30, 2012

Filed under: Breakfast — stacielk @ 7:00 am
Tags: , , , ,

I saw this recipe on Pinch of Yum a while back.  I wanted to make the muffins the second I saw the picture of the ooey gooey honey and butter melting over the just-out-of the oven muffin (go ahead, look at it yourself and tell me you aren’t drooling right now), but for one reason or another, I wasn’t able to….and now I wish I made them every day for the last month because they are ridiculously (sry to use this word two posts in a row…) good.  Not sure if it is the fresh out-of-the-oven muffin (I will let you know if they aren’t as good the next day, although Pinch of Yum has a suggestion for fresh muffins everyday – read bottom of recipe to learn) or if it was the melted butter and drizzle of honey that made them delicious.  I was a bit unsure of the honey…I do like honey in stuff but havn’t been one to just drizzle honey over muffins, breads, etc.  I think I am one of those people who will do it all the time now!  Deliciousness!  Enough said.  Here is the recipe:

Raisin Bran Muffins (makes 9 regular size muffins, double for more!)

1/4 cup oil

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

1 cup buttermilk (I used 1/2 c milk and 1/2 cup sour cream (plain yogurt could also be used in stead of the sour cream)

2 cups Raisin Bran cereal

1 cup flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

Mix in order and bake in muffin tin at 400 degrees for 12-20 minutes, depending on pan size. (My regular size muffins took 15 min). Let cool at least 10 minutes. Top with butter and honey.

Save leftover batter in the refrigerator. For individual servings, scoop into ramekin/mug and microwave for 1 minute.

Recipe from Pinch of Yum


Apple Butter & Happy Birthday! November 1, 2011

Filed under: Miscellaneous — stacielk @ 7:00 am
Tags: , , , , ,

First I need to announce a birthday, my little nephew who lives in Nigeria is TWO today!  Since I can’t see him in person I thought a personal happy birthday through my blog would be the next best thing…hopefully I can skype with him soon! :)  Happy Birthday Elijah!

As I was searching for good places to eat in NY, I found a restaurant called Peanut Butter and Co.  I found their menu on-line and saw some great ideas to change up a normal same-old peanut butter sandwich.  One called for apple butter, and with a plethora of apples sitting in my fridge, I found a recipe for apple butter on allrecipes.com and whipped some up.

It was on one of my busier kitchen days, the one that seem like I step out of my kitchen only to use the bathroom and change my daughter’s diaper but yet I still decided to whip the apple butter together, after the little one was down for the night.  It’s one of those recipes that needs to cook through the night.  When I woke up smelling sweet apple cinnamon deliciousness lingering in the air the next morning, I couldn’t wait to try it!  It takes a while to cook, but the hands-on work is very minimum!

The morning after throwing the ingredients in the slow cooker, I took a spoonful to give this stuff a try.  The one word that comes to mind:  Thanksgiving.  Normally I think of turkey when I think Thanksgiving but for some reason, when I tasted the warmed apple butter that’s what came to mind, it gave me goose bumps.  Let me tell you, it was strange!

The recipe is simple and I’m looking forward to all my apple butter toast, sandwiches, maybe even pork roasts, etc.  Do you have any recipes that call for apple butter?  I’d love to hear about them!

I’ve made a few changes to the recipe according to comments I read about the recipe, below is the recipe with my changes.

Apple Butter

5 1/2 pounds apples – peeled, cored and finely chopped

2 cups white sugar (this is half the amount the original recipe called for, it may possibly be even cut down more)

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon salt

Place the apples in a slow cooker. In a medium bowl, mix the sugar, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Pour the mixture over the apples in the slow cooker and mix well.

Cover and cook on high 1 hour.

Reduce heat to low and cook 9 to 11 hours, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thickened and dark brown.  (I didn’t stir occasionally b/c I was sleeping, the edges did get a touch burned, but it turned out fine)

Uncover and continue cooking on low 1 hour.  Stir with a whisk, if desired, to increase smoothness.  (I used a hand blender, which splattered and made a mess, would maybe put it in blender next time, less mess but smooth apple butter!)  I cooked another 3-4 hours in the slow cooker after blending until it really thickened.

Spoon the mixture into sterile containers, cover and refrigerate or freeze.

Recipe adopted from allrecipes.com

And the sandwich recipe I found was from ilovepeanutbutter.com.  This is actually a restaurant in NY that I did not get to visit when I went a couple weeks back, but would have been a fun place to go.  They have a sandwich that has a honey peanut butter along with apple butter, sprinkled with wheat germ.  Yum!  It was tasty!  I’m looking forward to re-making some of the other sandwiches that are on their menu!


Maple Pecan Scones… August 19, 2011

Filed under: Breakfast,Brownies/Bars & Other Sweets — stacielk @ 1:17 am
Tags: , , , ,

I’ve always wanted to try to make scones, but have been a bit hesitant to because I know they are known to be dried out and crumbly.  After making these scones from The Pioneer Woman Cooks, I think I might make scones every single week!  They were delicious!  I’m not very good at describing them, can’t come up with the words to explain how they are in the middle…tender, flaky maybe…and the frosting, well that’s an easy one, it’s pretty sweet.  I think it compliments the not-so-sweet scones very well and had the perfect amount of frosting dumped over each one but from others that I have shared these with, they thought maybe drizzling a little over would be enough.  So that’s up to you.  If you are a sweet person, dump it on there, if you don’t like really sweet things, just drizzle it over — but in either case, you HAVE to try these.  They are pretty simple to make, trying not to over combine (b/c this may make them dry and crumbly) and there was a perfect amount of pecans inside, I thought they wouldn’t even show up because of the small amount, but they surprisingly did!

Here’s the recipe:

Maple Pecan Scones

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup sugar

5 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled

1/4 cup pecans, plus more for sprinkling if desired

1 large egg

3/4 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt using a pastry blender.

Cut the cold butter into small pieces.  Cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles crumbs.

Now finely chop the pecans.  And stir them into the flour mixture.

Mix the egg and cream together.  Add the mixture to the bowl and stir together until just combined.  (don’t mess with it too much!)

Turn the mixture onto a cutting board.  The dough will be very crumbly.  With your hands, push the mixture together into a large ball.  (I made two separate balls and made smaller scones)  Do not knead or press too much; ou want to leave that gluten alone!

With a rolling-pin, very gently roll the dough into a 10-inch round about 3/4 inches thick. (Like I said, I made two 5-inch roads 3/4 inches thick)

WIth a sharp knife, cut the rough into eight equal-size wedges.  Tranfser the wedges to a baking sheet lined with a silpat or spray.  Bake scones for 22-26 minutes, until they’re just barely starting to brown.  Do not allow the edges to become dark.  Allow the scones to cool completely before icing.

Maple Icing (I’d suggest making half-even though I dumped the icing on my scones, I still had quite a bit leftover)

1 pound powdered sugar

1/4 cup whole milk

4 T (1/2 stick) butter, melted

splash of strongly brewed coffee

dash of salt

2 tsp maple flavoring/extract

In a medium mixing bowl, stir the icing ingredients until smooth.  Pour generously over the cooled scones.  Allow icing to set before serving.  Serve with coffee.

Optional:  Sprinkle chopped pecans over the icing before it sets

Recipe from The Pioneer Woman Cooks