Grow Your Blog Link Party

Good Thursday morning and welcome to the Grow Your Blog (or GYB) blog hop! Paula and I are so happy to have you link up with us this week. And we happily welcome any new bloggers to the party! :) How has your week been? Do you have any plans for the weekend?

What is the Grow Your Blog Hop all about? NETWORKING! Meeting new bloggers, finding new content to follow, building your readership. Why is blog networking great for you? Simply put, it increases readership and traffic to your blog. How do you network? Visit. Comment. Invite. Communicate. These are key to growing your blog.

GYBNEW2

THIS WEEK’S HOSTS & LOVELY CO-HOSTS!

Julie from This Gal Cooks (HOST)
Paula from Call Me PMc (HOST)
Martine from Way Beyond the Naked Truth (CO-HOST)
Annamaria from Bakewell Junction (CO-HOST)
Esther from Esther Norine Designs (CO-HOST)
Kait from High Heels and Hot Deals (CO-HOST)

WHEN YOU LINK UP TO THIS PARTY:

      • Follow your hosts and co-hosts
      • Link up the main page of your blog, not an individual post. You may link up your individual posts to Marvelous Mondays.
      • Visit and follow other bloggers
      • Comment to let them know that you stopped by and how you followed (Email, GFC, Facebook, Bloglovin, etc)
      • Invite them to visit your blog (be sure to leave your blog web address – too many times have i seen bloggers comment and request a visit to their blog without leaving their blog web address)
      • Communicate with them about what you like on their blog. Let them know you are interested in their blog. USE THEIR NAME! A simple “I’m so and so stopping by. I followed you please follow me.” just isn’t going to interest someone into visiting your blog. Sure, you can request a visit to your blog or a follow along but engage in some type of conversation first.
      • Grab a button and promote the party (you can get the button on This Gal Cooks right here.)



Sausage and Peppers

Sausage and Peppers by Bakewell Junction

Sausage and Peppers by Bakewell Junction

Last weekend we had a family get-together for my husband’s birthday and we had lots of food as usual with dishes like my Manicotti, this Sausage and Pepper recipe, Chicken Cutlet Parmigiana, homemade pizza and two Giant Fauxtess Cakes.  We weren’t sure who would be able to attend so we made sure we had plenty.

My mom used to cook sausage peppers on the stove which took a lot of time and attention.  What I’ve done is move the process into the oven to simplify it.  Now everything goes in the oven and no attention is really needed and it turns out so delicious that you would never know the difference.  You’ll notice that there’s no salt in the recipe and that’s because the sausages will provide plenty of salt to the peppers and onions.  How do you like to eat your sausage and peppers?

Enjoy.

Sausage and Peppers

Yield:  4 – 6 servings                Cook Time:  2 hours

Ingredients

  • 1 package of your favorite sweet or hot Italian sausage (about 2 1/2 pounds), per your taste
  • 3 large sliced onions
  • 3 large red or green bell peppers cleaned and cubed (I use red peppers because they become so sweet)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Fresh and crusty Italian bread

Directions:

Step 1:  Cut sausage links into thirds or quarters.  Place onions, peppers, sausage and water in a disposable aluminum half tray pan.  Cover with aluminum foil and place in a preheated 350 degree oven.

Step 2:  After about 1 1/2 hours, uncover the sausage and peppers.  The onions and peppers should have reduced in volume quite a bit.  Return the tray to the oven for another 1/2 hour to brown a bit.

Step 3:  Slice a hunk of Italian bread and then slice in the middle and spread apart.  Place a good portion of the sausage and peppers in the center of the sandwich, squeeze the ends together and take a big bite.

This recipe stores well in the refrigerator and tastes just as good as left-overs.

Enjoy!!!

Black and White Cookies {or Red for Valentine’s Day with White Chocolate} #chocolateparty

Black and Whites | Bakewell Junction

Black and Whites | Bakewell Junction

It’s Valentine’s Day in a few days and I’ve been wanting to share a post for Black and White cookies, so I made a few changes to have them fit the holiday.  These are easy to make and tasty too.  As I wrote this post I noticed that Paula Deen’s original recipe got a lot of negative comments but I didn’t have the same problems and I’m glad when I printed the recipe there weren’t any comments yet or I might never have tried the recipe.

I wanted the cookies to have a heart shape, so I tried two different methods to have the cookies turn out that way.  I first tried to make heart shaped molds out of heavy duty aluminum foil but although the shapes looked okay, the cookies turned out more like biscuits because I made the molds too small so the cookies were too thick (that didn’t hurt the taste any though).  For some of the cookies, I cut the round shapes to have a point at the bottom and a divot at the top.  Do you like the look of the smaller and thicker molded cookies or the cut cookies?

Black and White Cookies

Yield:  20 to 25 cookies                  Cook Time:  15 minutes

  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 2 1/2 cups AP flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 sticks butter, room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Icing and Chocolate

  • 1/4 cup boiling water, as needed
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 to 3 ounces chocolate candy bar (use your favorite brand)
  • red food coloring, optional
  • 1/4 cup white chocolate chips, optional

Directions:

Step 1:  Mix together flours and baking powder in a medium bowl.  Using an electric mixer beat together the butter and sugar until the mixture becomes lighter in color and is thoroughly mixed.

Step 2:  Incorporate eggs into the butter mixture individually at medium speed until each is well incorporated.  Add milk and vanilla and beat until incorporated.

Step 3:  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Prepare cookie sheet by covering it with parchment paper.  For regular Black and White round cookie shape, drop heaping tablespoonfuls of dough on the prepared cookie sheet.  For heart shaped cookie molds, place the molds on the prepared cookie sheet and drop the heaping tablespoonfuls of dough into the molds while ensuring that some of the dough will fill the entire shape.  Space cookies at least 2 inches apart and bake for 15 minutes.  Let cool completely before icing.  If cutting the round cookies into a heart shape, cut the rounded edges from the sides to a point at the bottom.  Then cut a divot or “v” at the top of the circle.

Step 4:  Prepare the icing by mixing the powdered sugar and water (as needed) together in a medium bowl.  The icing should be spreadable but not thin.  If tinting the icing for Valentine’s Day, add 20 or more drops of red food coloring until the icing becomes a nice shade of red.  The flat side of the cookie will become the top for these.  Spread the icing on half of the flat side of each cookie.

Step 5:  Break the chocolate candy bar into small pieces and melt in a double boiler or the microwave.  If using the microwave, melt the chocolate in small increments and stir before additional heating until it’s of spreadable consistency.  Spread the chocolate on the other half of the flat side of each cookie.  Let icing and chocolate set.

Step 6:  If using the additional garnish, melt the white chocolate in a double boiler or the microwave.  If using the microwave, melt the white chocolate in small increments and stir before additional heating until it’s of spreadable consistency.  Spoon the melted chocolate into a ziploc bag and snip the corner, making a small hole for piping.  Pipe heart shapes in the middle of each heart shaped cookie.

Storing:  Store cookies in a sealed plastic container.

Enjoy!!!

Recipe adapted from Paula Deen on foodnetwork.com.

This post may also be entered in the following linky party. Click the button below to see the other great posts in the blog hop.

Taco Beef Dip

Taco Beef Dip | Bakewell Junction

Taco Beef Dip | Bakewell Junction

The big storm is over and I just finished shoveling snow for about four hours.  I’ve been trying to get this post written since the Super Bowl.  For Super Bowl, we planned to order pizza and not have a lot of work since there were only four and a half of us.  Now the story with the half person is that my friend and neighbor only stops in for a little while because her back doesn’t let her hang out and sit for long periods of time so she doesn’t eat very much.

I figured I would make a few things until we ordered pizza and some would be planned leftovers so I made my spinach dip, a double quacamole recipe, a few cut cheeses (pepper jack, cheddar and fontina), blue corn tortilla chips, pretzel sticks, pretzel crackers, two half trays of sausage and peppers, a double taco beef dip recipe, soft tortillas, my dried etna hot peppers (for the gutsy) and Venetians (recipe coming soon) for dessert.  As it turned out, we never ordered the pizza.  I know, it’s a lot of food but if I had planned to make a meal there would have been a lot more.

When I make this easy taco beef dip, I make it on the milder side and then those who want it spicy can make as spicy as they like.  Many years ago I used to get those recipe cards where they send you packets of a several every so often and I found this recipe on those cards.  I’ve been making this for many years and everyone loves it including me.  It works great in a sandwich or as a topping on chips.  So what did you make for Super Bowl?

Enjoy.

Taco Beef Dip

Ingredients

  • 1 pound extra lean ground beef
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon chili powder (I use mild chili powder)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • Hot pepper sauce, to taste
  • 1 16 ounce can red kidney beans (I substitute a can of refried beens)
  • Flour tortillas or tortilla chips

Garnish

  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, optional (I buy a block of cheddar and shred it myself for better taste)
  • 1/2 cup stuffed green olives, chopped, optional (I skip this)
  • 1/2 cup green onions, sliced, optional (I skip this)
  • 1 tomato, diced, optional
  • lettuce, chopped
  • dried Etna peppers, optional

Directions:

Step 1:  Place chopped onions in the bottom of a large skillet and crumble beef on top.  Turn the heat to medium and cook until the beef begins to lose it’s color.  The onions will begin to soften.  Turn the meat so it cooks evenly.  Do not let beef become crisp.

Step 2:  Mix the ketchup, chili powder, salt and hot pepper sauce into the beef mixture.

Step 3:  Chop kidney beans and add to the beef mixture.  Alternatively add the refried beans to the beef mixture.  Continue heating until simmering for 10 minutes.

Step 4:  Serve in a heat safe bowl and top with garnishes as desired.  Supply additional garnishes for everyone to build their own tortillas or serve with tortilla chips.

This recipe stores well in the refrigerator and tastes just as good as left-overs.

Enjoy!!!

Recipe adapted from My Great Recipes.