First up is Beignets. Almost 10 years ago, my husband and I were introduced to these yummy, doughnut-like desserts, when we honeymooned in New Orleans. We came back with boxes of the mix and made them quite often for the first two years of our marriage. But they were never quite like what we had at Cafe Du Monde. I could never get them to puff up. So this year I searched for a "made-from-scratch" recipe that I wanted to use for our "Mardi Gras"-themed dinner party. They turned out just like the delicious awesomeness of Cafe Du Monde's. So I'm going to share the recipe I found on Teresa Taylor's article "Mardi Gras Month Perfect Time for Beignets." NOTE: I am going to pretty much copy her recipe on here, but I will add my review at the end and let you know of any changes I made to the recipe. AND prepare this the day before or begin this in the morning of the evening you are going to cook these. They will need at least 5 hours before you can begin cooking.
What You'll Need:
- 1 Tbsp active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 cup lukewarm water
- 1/2 cup sugar, divided
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup evaporated milk
- 1/4 cup shortening
- 7 cups all purpose flour, sifted
- At least 2 quarts of vegetable oil
- Powdered sugar
- In a stand mixer, combine yeast, water, 1 tsp of sugar, and a pinch of salt. Let sit until foamy (about 5-10 minutes)
- While it was foaming, I went ahead and combined this next group and added when ready. I don't like to just sit around and wait. Add remaining sugar and salt, eggs, milk, and evaporated milk. Mix well. Add shortening and mix well.
- Add 3 cups of the flour and mix well. Slowly add the remaining flour until dough forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Cover with a damp cloth and l eave to rise double in a warm place (generally an hour)
- After rising, punch dough down, remove from bowl, and place in a greased container, allowing room for dough to expand 2-3 times. Please make sure you find a big enough bowl. This will get BIG. Cover loosely and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight
- When ready to use, heat fryer or deep skillet full of oil to 350 degrees.
- Turn out dough onto well-floured counter or cutting board. Roll out to about 1/4 inch thick. Make sure it's as close to this as possible.
- Using a pizza cutter, cut into 3-inch squares. Drop a few at a time into hot oil. Turn once when bottom browns and brown the other side (this really only takes a few minutes on each side)
- Remove and drain on paper towels.
- This is the KEY to a great beignet: Dump a bunch of powdered sugar on top of the beignet before you eat it. Seriously, at Cafe Du Monde, there's at least 2 inches of powdered sugar on top.
This recipe was GREAT! As I said before, I have made quite a few batches in the past, but this batch, for some reason, just worked perfect! I made a whole bunch and had plenty to freeze for future parties. They tasted just like New Orleans. You MUST try this, whether it is Mardi Gras or not. :)
|My little Mardi Gras helper. She was helping me make the beignets|
|Here's one that didn't quite pop up, but was just as yummy.|
|Sassy enjoying her own beignet|
Second recipe is Green Eggs and Ham....in the crockpot. I love that my children's school celebrates Reading Across America week and Dr. Seuss's birthday each year. They had a great time dressing up, rhyming, crafting their way to a world of wonder and joy. Go to my post on Thing 1 and Thing 2 Puppets for ideas and links to Reading Across America. So in the light of Dr. Seuss's birthday, I made my kids some green eggs and ham in the crockpot. It was ready the next morning and OH SO GOOD!
Crockpot Green Eggs and Ham
What You'll Need:
- Cooking spray
- 10 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- Three medium potatoes, diced
- 1 package of bacon (I know it's not ham, but bacon is still pig, and it was cheaper.)
- Green and BLUE food coloring
- Salt and Pepper
- WHITE cheddar cheese, shredded
- Bake bacon according to directions. Once cooked, chop into pieces.
- Spray crockpot with cooking spray
- In a large bowl mix together eggs, milk, cut up potatoes, and bacon. Make sure it is mixed WELL and all eggs are beaten.
- Add green food coloring. And then add a few drops of blue. In my experience of making green eggs (for St. Patrick's day last year), if you don't add the blue, the green is going to be more of a yellow-green. My 7th grade art teacher who told me I was no good at art would be proud of how I knew to add some blue food coloring to make it mixes with the yellow of the egg yolk to make sure my eggs are good and green.
- Add a little salt and pepper. It will already be salty because of the bacon. So don't overdo it.
- Bake on HIGH for 2 1/2 - 3 hours or LOW 5-6 hours. I put started mine at 11 pm to be ready at 6 am. My crockpot goes into "warm mode" once it has reached its time limit. So, if your's doesn't, you might want to get up and check on it.
- When serving, add a little white cheddar cheese. You could add it before cooking, but then I wouldn't add any salt. I've done it both ways, and it's turned out fine.
And YUM! For real, this stuff was good. Once the kids realize it's just green regular food, they will dive right in. My oldest even took some to school for lunch. :)
|Crockpot Green Eggs and Ham. Look at that color! SO GREEN!|
|The boys wanted to act out Green Eggs and Ham. J said, "I will not eat..." and Jed said "Yes, I will eat!"|