Chew This! Make Ahead Streusel Coffee Cakes

Happy “Chew This!” Sunday! As many of you know, I write a food column for “The Courier-Times” on the first and third Sundays of each month called “Chew This!” I absolutely love it and love sharing my family recipes, stories and memories. If you are in the Henry County, Indiana area – pick up a copy of the newspaper today and let me know what you think! If you are not, but would still like to take a look, sign up for an online subscription at http://thecouriertimes.com Need help with the online signing up!? Write to me and I will be happy to help! blaisethebaker@gmail.com

My newest recipe is a make ahead wonder! Make my “Make Ahead Streusel Coffee Cakes” TODAY and have them all week for a quick grab and go breakfast or snack! They are deliciously easy to whip up and store beautifully in an air tight container at room temperature. These are portable, flavorful and lets be honest – fun to make! I love making streusel and how bad could it be really – sugar and butter!?

Also my “Ask and Answer” feature is about the use of coffee with chocolate and how it brings out all the flavors of the chocolate without any flavor of the coffee!

Pick up a copy of “The Courier-Times” TODAY and let me know what you think!


Make Ahead Streusel Coffee Cakes

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, May 21st 2017 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

Make Ahead, Grab and Go Coffee Cakes
Blaise Doubman

About a month ago my debut cookbook officially went into what is known in the publishing world as a “second printing”. Everything stayed the same except for the copyright at the beginning of the cookbook – the copyright went from 2016 to 2017. I have always been interested and fascinated with publishing, newspapers and media. In high school I took newspaper class and was on the yearbook committee. Words in print fascinate me and how people receive those words in print fascinate me even more. Do you get your news from online sources, Facebook, the newspaper, radio, TV, maybe even all of the above? The same can be said for how people get their recipes and meal ideas. I encourage people all the time on my social media networks to email me, text me, write to me, call me – and let me know if you have any questions, feedback or concerns. I love hearing from my readers!

That is where this column recipe came from; a reader. A reader, who did not want to be identified, said that she would love a recipe for coffee cake that she could make once and it would last throughout the week. A coffee cake that could be portable and something that would not only last without getting stale but a coffee cake that would have great taste as well. That got me thinking about the traditional coffee cake and how I could make a few changes. Immediately I knew that I wanted to make them portable by baking them in cupcake / muffin tins! I also knew that the addition of sour cream would make for a flavorful and moist crumb. After several testings I knew that I had a winner! I handed these out to my taste testers and several people thought they were store bought! Several people remarked on the moistness of the cakes and how much flavor they had. I hope that you, and the reader who was an inspiration for these, will make these, love them and pass along this recipe.

Make Ahead Streusel Coffee Cakes

These are the perfect go-to breakfast item because they can be made ahead and stored for a long period of time! Store them in an air tight container at room temperature for up to five days. Wrap each in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator and they will keep for ten days. Wrap each in plastic wrap and freeze for up to six months! Feel free to add a little cinnamon spice to the coffee cake and / or the streusel topping. Also feel free to mix together 1 cup confectioners’ sugar with a splash of whole milk and drizzle each with a little glaze.

For the cake…
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, melted
1 ½ cups white granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
3 cups white all-purpose flour

For the streusel…
1 ½ cups light brown sugar, lightly packed
¾ cup white all-purpose flour
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray two 12-cup capacity cupcake / muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray containing flour.

In a large bowl cream together the melted unsalted butter with the white granulated sugar until the mixture is light in color and fluffy in texture.

Next, add in the eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition.

Beat in the pure vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl combine the baking powder, salt and white all-purpose flour. Whisk this together to remove any lumps.

Add half of the sour cream, followed by half of the dry mixture. Beat well before adding in the other half of the sour cream, followed by the remaining dry mixture.

Fill each prepared cupcake / muffin cup half full of the batter.

To make the streusel topping, combine the light brown sugar, white all-purpose flour, melted unsalted butter and salt in a medium bowl using clean hands. The end result should look like pebbles. The easiest way to mix together would be to use your thumbs and pointer fingers, rubbing the mixture easily throughout. A gentle hand and a small fork would also work.

Top each of the batter filled cavities with one tablespoon, but no more, of the streusel mixture.

Place in preheated oven and bake for 33 minutes, or until lightly golden brown.

Once baked, remove from the oven and allow the cakes to come to warm room temperature while still in their baking pans. Carefully remove and enjoy.

Ask and Answer: I’ve been getting a few emails about why in most of my chocolate recipes I add a little bit of coffee. Just a small amount of instant coffee granules mixed into chocolate cakes, brownies, frostings, etc. enhances the natural flavors of the chocolate. The end result will have no taste of coffee at all, it will just give your finished dessert that special something. I use instant coffee granules but instant espresso would work in a pinch. A little goes a long way.

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Chew This! Make Ahead Breakfast Peach Muffins

I have heard from so many of you, wanting and asking for a quick, flavorful and easy breakfast recipe. There are so many things that come to my mind – what about a “breakfast casserole”? Or what about my “Lemon and Butter Oven Pancakes” that I posted awhile back!? Recipe here – https://blaisethebaker.com/2014/10/19/chew-this-lemon-and-butter-oven-pancakes/

I really think the real secret is making something ahead of time… And how easy and simple would making muffins be? Stir them up the night before, and bake them off as you need them – or you could bake them all at once, place them in a covered container, and keep them at hand for a quick “grab and go” breakfast treat, that is fast, easy and delicious! Perfect with coffee…

These are delicious with fresh, local peaches – but just as good with canned.

Try these for your breakfast this week…

Breakfast Peach Muffins Chew This Blaise Doubman

Make Ahead Breakfast Peach Muffins

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, July 5th 2015 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

Simple, delicious and flavorful muffins are served for Breakfast!
Blaise Doubman

The most neglected meal of the day, just so happens to also be the most important meal of the day – breakfast! So many people have written to me about breakfast foods, and the time constraints that go along with it. I can’t tell you the amount of emails I get asking for breakfast food ideas. People want something easy, flavorful and above all, something that won’t take a lot of time in the mornings. There are several things that come to mind, such as making your own breakfast sandwiches, (egg, sausage or bacon on biscuits with cheese) wrapping them in plastic wrap and placing them in the refrigerator for grabbing on your way out the door. For a large family, making a “Dutch baby” pancake in the oven, instead of flipping pancakes one at a time on the stove, would be a real timesaver. (I developed a recipe for a delicious lemon and butter “Dutch baby” a few months back). The real secret to breakfast? Making it ahead.

These delicious muffins are made ahead, stored in the refrigerator or at room temperature, and are perfect with your morning coffee, milk, tea or orange juice. I used canned peaches for this recipe, mainly because fresh local peaches aren’t available year around, but if the season is ripe – use fresh! My suggestion? Stop by the New Castle Farmer’s Market (located on the east side of the courthouse, every Saturday from 8-Noon until mid October) and stock up on some fresh peaches and make these muffins! Bake them the night before, and store them in an air-tight container. The next morning, you can grab them and go. These are flavorful, easy, portable and above all a delicious breakfast!

Make Ahead Breakfast Peach Muffins

These muffins are delicious made with canned peaches, but even better if made with fresh local peaches. The Turbinado sugar on top is optional, but gives the muffins a delicious sweet crunch. This recipe can easily be double or even tripled in size, depending on what you need.

2 cups white all-purpose flour
2 sticks (8 oz.) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup sour cream
¼ cup white granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon reserved peach juice
1 can (15 oz.) sliced peaches, drained (reserve 1 teaspoon), chopped
Turbinado sugar for sprinkling

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a 12-cup muffin pan with muffin liners and spray with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine the melted and cooled unsalted butter, sour cream, white granulated sugar, pure vanilla extract, salt, ground cinnamon, baking powder and reserved peach juice, until thoroughly mixed.

Next, stir in the white all-purpose flour, followed by the chopped peaches. Be sure to mix the peaches in completely, but don’t overwork the mixture.

Once the mixture is combined, divide evenly between muffin cups in prepared pan.

Place in preheated oven for 35 minutes, exactly.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 15 minutes before serving.

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Double Batch Lasagna

I am telling you – this is the BEST lasagna recipe, and the only one you will ever need! Seriously – it is absolutely incredible! And you know what? The best part is it makes a DOUBLE BATCH! This means, one for now, and one for later! Yes, I am using a lot of exclamation points!!! See – here are more!!!

You COULD half this recipe, and only make one pan of lasagna, but why? Let us be honest – you will have the mess anyways, why not make TWO – one for now, and one for later!? Pop the other one in the refrigerator (for up to 3 days), or freezer (for up to 3 months) and throw the other one in the oven for one of the best lasagnas you have ever had! I promise…

Now, this lasagna is very “classic” in flavor. There is not any veal, and there is not any fire roasted tomatoes in this version. It is just a clean, classic and simple version that my family and friends LOVE! Anytime someone is sick, or happy, or pregnant, or divorcing, or ANYTHING in life – I always make and deliver this lasagna! (I took this to my friend Judy – who LOVED it and has requested it at least twice a month…) I typically serve this with garlic cheese bread and a salad. It is also good the next day – cold…or on bread…or toast…or battered and deep fried… Ha! Perfect anyway you slice it…

TRY IT! (You can thank me later…)

I got the inspiration from this recipe from my Aunt…Ree Drummond. You all may know her as “The Pioneer Woman”, but to me, she’s my “Aunt Ree Ree”.

Ok – so I stretched the truth a little. She’s not my Aunt…and I do not know her…but I tell people she is my Aunt just to get a reaction! Ha! Anyways, her recipe can be found here – http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2007/06/the_best_lasagn/ – but honestly, I DO like mine better. I have changed it to fit what works for ME. MY taste, what I like, how I like to make it and mine makes a DOUBLE batch – DOUBLE the fun!

Before you start – it is easier to get everything together in bowls, sections, however you lay out ingredients before hand…and then start and follow the recipe. Chop the fresh parsley, the basil, beat the eggs, etc. It will be SO much easier. Also – use foil pans. Seriously – it will be so much easier for storage, refrigerating, freezing, etc. Keep in mind though that you really need to keep the foil trays on a baking sheet while in the oven, cutting, etc. – just for safety reasons, spillage, etc. Carry on…

Double Batch Lasagna Blaise the Baker

Double Batch Lasagna

2 pounds ground beef
2 pounds hot sausage
4 tablespoons minced garlic
4 cans crushed tomatoes (14.5 oz each)
4 cans tomato paste (6 oz each)
6 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
4 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
7 cups cottage cheese
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 packages lasagna noodles (10 oz each)

Start by spraying 2 13×9-inch foil baking pans with non-stick cooking spray.

Fill a large pot with water, bring to a boil, and salt the water heavily with Kosher salt, or in a pinch, regular table salt.

Once the water is boiling, put in both packages of lasagna noodles, and coax them all down into the boiling water. Be careful not to break them – in a few minutes time, the noodles will all fit – as long as your pot is big enough – I promise.

Boil them just until firm to the tooth – about 10 minutes. Read the package instructions just to double check on the time for your particular brand.

Drain them, allow to cool slightly, and arrange the noodles individually side by side (over lapping is fine) on your strainer. This is the best way of “laying out the noodles”.

Next, in a large skillet brown the ground beef and hot sausage, over medium-high heat. About half way through the cooking process, add in the minced garlic, and continue cooking the meat until fully cooked and no longer pink. Drain a little of the fat, and then add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, 4 tablespoons of the fresh parsley, the fresh basil, salt and black pepper. Stir, carefully, to combine and allow to simmer on medium heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally – and tasting occasionally.

In a large bowl, combine the cottage cheese, beaten eggs, grated parmesan cheese, and (why not?) a little more salt and black pepper.

Now – you are ready to layer! The fun part…

Start by arranging four noodles on the bottom of each pan. Layer like this…

About 4 noodles first – on the bottom. Then, a little of the cottage cheese mixture, then the shredded mozzarella cheese, then the meat mixture. Layer and layer in BOTH PANS like this, until you are out of ingredients, and END with the meat mixture on top. Sprinkle on more grated parmesan cheese all over the top of both.

IF BAKING – Place in preheated 350-degree oven for 30-40 minutes on a flat baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes for a “softer” edge lasagna, 40 minutes for a more “crunchy” edge lasagna… I prefer the 40 minute option…

IF FREEZING – Snap on plastic lid that comes with foil container, and place in freezer for up to 3 months.

IF REFRIGERATING – Snap on plastic lid that comes with foil container, and place in refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Enjoy!

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Chew This! Eggplant and Tomato Casserole

Happy Sunday! Where are you reading from? Today in Indiana looks like this…

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(thanks to my friend Terri Smith for posting the photo – that way I wouldn’t have to leave the house! Ha!)

Want something that will warm you up!? (No matter where you are) – why not try my newest “CHEW THIS!” column featured in today’s edition of “The Courier-Times”?

This recipe is PERFECT for vegetarians, make-ahead meals, “Meatless Mondays”, Lent…and more! Trust me – you will NEVER know there is eggplant in this dish – and you (or your guests) will not miss the meat…I promise!

When I first served this (to my meat loving family) I did not tell them the “secret” (eggplant) until they were finished eating. They raved and raved about how delicious the meal was…and were flabbergasted when I told them it was actually an EGGPLANT casserole.

I am so excited to be sharing this recipe with everyone! Check it out – email me and let me know what you think! (blaisethebaker@gmail.com)

Eggplant and Tomato Casserole

Eggplant and Tomato Casserole

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, March 1st, 2015 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

Eggplant Casserole would be perfect dish for “Meatless Mondays”…
Blaise Doubman

I think a lot of vegetables get a bad name without people first having even tried them! Take eggplant for example. The vegetable is not only delicious to look at – a deep, glossy, nightshade of purple – but is actually delicious to eat! Have you tried eggplant? If not – how come? Its taste is very much similar to a squash – very light in texture and absorbs flavors beautifully when cooked alongside tomatoes, butter and garlic for examples. Eggplant is delicious when substituted for the meat in lasagna and even better in casseroles – like this one! Try it once and you’ll be a fan…

Eggplants also have a lot of health benefits! Did you know that eggplants are full of vitamins and minerals and that they also help with cardiovascular health and free radical protection? See – they are a wonderful vegetable! And a lot of people are now participating in a movement called “Meatless Mondays” where on Mondays; all dishes made for the day contain no meat. This movement started online as a way of promoting good health, healthy eating, and more vegetable consumption. A lot of people have started this, and really benefiting from not only the health benefits – but by experimenting in the kitchen with things they would have never tired before, and absolutely loving the results! This casserole will be a hit with your family and friends.

Eggplant and Tomato Casserole

Casseroles are beginning to be a thing of the past – and I want to change that. Casseroles (especially this one) can be made ahead, refrigerated or even frozen until ready to bake off, and can provide leftovers for the next day. This casserole is so flavorful you won’t believe it – and you won’t miss the meat! This recipe is also very versatile. You can use frozen onions instead of fresh, and canned diced tomatoes instead of dicing your own. Panko breadcrumbs are used in place of regular breadcrumbs because of the delicious crunch they provide. Leftovers can be kept covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Also – when picking an eggplant, chose one that is dark purple and heavier feeling – this will ensure freshness.

2 tablespoons salted butter
1 large onion, diced
1 medium sized eggplant
½ green bell pepper, diced
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 large tomatoes, cleaned and diced
1 16 oz. container cottage cheese
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs

Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F and by spraying a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray.

Cook the diced onion and butter together in a medium sized skillet over moderate heat until the onions are tender and translucent.

Next, peel the eggplant and cut off both ends. Cube the rest of the eggplant into cubes roughly about ½-inch big.

Add the eggplant to the cooked onions and stir in diced green pepper, tomato sauce, salt and pepper. Cover this with a lid and allow to cook for about 20 minutes – or until the eggplant is tender – stirring occasionally.

Next, once the mixture is cooked and the eggplant tender, add in the diced tomatoes, stir and cook for another two minutes.

To assemble the casserole, place a layer of the vegetable mixture on the bottom of the prepared casserole dish and spread evenly, followed by a layer of the cottage cheese and then the bread crumbs. Do layers of this – ending with the vegetables – until you have used all of the ingredients. You should have between 3 and 4 layers of the vegetables.

Place, uncovered, in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to rest slightly before serving.

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