Saturday, December 6, 2008

Flourless Chocolate Torte

This was the dessert I brought for dinner with friends a few weeks ago. It was VERY rich but absolutely wonderful. The recipe is from my dear friend Dana (and her fabulous recipe blog can be found at Freddie's Favorite Foods) originally from Sharon Lebewohl's Signature Flourless chocolate Cake

I served the torte with a very light dusting of powdered sugar and some mostly-thawed frozen strawberries.

Ingredients:

1 pound dark chocolate, chopped (chocolate that is between 65 and 70% cacao) *
2 sticks parve margarine (only parve if you are looking to be kosher)
1/4 cup coffee liqueur
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
7 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
Powdered sugar


Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Grease a 9-inch-diameter springform pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper.

Stir chocolate, margarine, coffee liqueur, and vanilla in heavy large saucepan over low heat until melted and smooth.
Cool to lukewarm.


Using electric mixer, beat eggs and 1 cup sugar in large bowl until thick and pale, and slowly dissolving ribbon forms when beaters are lifted, about 6 minutes. Fold 1/3 of egg mixture into lukewarm (make sure it is not hot or the eggs will cook when you fold them in) chocolate mixture. Fold remaining egg mixture into chocolate mixture.

Place prepared pan on baking sheet. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 55 minutes. Cool 5 minutes.

Gently press down edges of cake. Cool completely in pan. (Cake can be prepared up to 1 day ahead. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before continuing.)

Run knife around pan sides to loosen cake. Remove sides of pan; transfer cake to platter. Remove parchment paper.
Sprinkle cake with powdered sugar and serve.


*Since chocolate is the main ingredient, it is important to use the best available chocolate. (I used 8 oz bittersweet chocolate and 8 oz semisweet)

Cinnamon Ice Cream

This was my contribution to Thanksgiving dinner with the In-laws. I couldn't find a cinnamon ice cream recipe that was exactly what I wanted so I found a great-looking vanilla and ran with it to come up with my own.
This was the easiest ice cream I've made so far. And delicious. It was a great side to pumpkin and pecan pies.

Ingredients:

3 cups heavy cream, or 2 cups heavy cream and 1 cup whole milk


¾ cup sugar


pinch of salt


2 heaping tsp. cinnamon


1/2 tsp. vanilla extract



Directions:





Pour 1 cup of the cream into a medium saucepan and add the sugar and salt. Warm over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved.


 


Remove from the heat and add the remaining 2 cups cream (or cream and milk), cinnamon and the vanilla extract.


 


Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator.  Churn the ice cream and then freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.



Source: I used the vanilla bean recipe from Annie's Eats and made a couple of changes.



Alfredo Sauce

I've had the biggest craving for Alfredo lately and I finally made it. I've only made Alfredo once or twice before and it never turned out as well as this time did. I was fantastic! I used the recipe found at Amber's Delectable Delights but I wasn't very strict on measuring. The only problem was, it didn't take away the craving for it. It just made me want to make it again and again. Oh darn :) I doubled this recipe and had a TON of leftovers.

176

Ingredients:

½ cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter (I used more like 2)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground black pepper and salt, to taste

Directions:

Simmer the cream and butter in a saucepan over low heat until it has slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the cheese, remove from heat, and stir until mostly incorporated and melted. Add freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste. Toss with pasta.

Pepperoni Cheese Bread

This is quite similar to the Pizza Bite recipe but I think I liked this one a touch more, mostly for the bread. I wasn't a huge fan of the pizza dough from the Bites recipe but the frozen bread dough was pretty tasty. (Is it wrong for me, the bread baking addict, to admit that? LOL)

Ingredients:

1 loaf frozen (or refrigerated) bread dough
Sliced pepperoni
Shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions:

I let the frozen bread dough thaw/raise throughout the day and then cut it in half and rolled out two rectangles. Layer the pepperoni on the dough, and then cover with mozzarella cheese. Roll up lengthwise and seal the ends and seam and place seam-side down in a baking pan (I used a jelly roll pan).

The second roll I did something a little different. I brushed butter on the dough, then sprinkled with Italian seasoning and parmesan cheese before layering the pepperoni and cheese and rolling. Then I brushed the top of the roll with butter and sprinkled with more parmesan cheese. After tasting the finished product I actually think this would be great with a marinara dipping sauce!

I baked them at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes.

Source: Brown Eyed Baker

Whole Wheat Bread

Ingredients:

2 1/3 cups warm water (about 100°)


1 ½ tbsp. instant yeast


¼ cup honey


4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted


2 ½ tsp. salt


¼ cup rye flour


½ cup toasted wheat germ


3 cups whole-wheat flour


2 ¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour



Directions:





In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the water, yeast, honey, butter and salt with a rubber spatula.  Mix in the rye flour, wheat germ, and 1 cup of each of the whole-wheat and all-purpose flours. 


 


Add the remaining whole-wheat and all-purpose flours, attach the dough hook and knead at low speed until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.  Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface.  Knead just long enough to make sure that the dough is soft and smooth, about 30 seconds.


 


Place the dough in a very lightly oiled large bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise in a warm, draft-free area until the dough has doubled in volume, about 1 hour.


 


Heat the oven to 375°.  Gently press down the dough and divide it into two equal pieces.  Gently press each piece into a rectangle about 1-inch thick and no longer than 9 inches.  With a long side of the dough facing you, roll the dough firmly into a cylinder, pressing down to make sure the dough sticks to itself.  Turn the dough seam-side up and pinch it closed.  Place each cylinder of dough into a greased 9 by 5-inch loaf pan, seam-side down, pressing the dough gently so it touches all four sides of the pan.  Cover the shaped dough; let rise until almost doubled in volume, 20 to 30 minutes.


 


Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted at an angle from the short end just above the pan rim reads 205°, 35 to 45 minutes.  Transfer the bread immediately from the baking pans to a wire rack; cool to room temperature.



Note: To see instructions for hand-kneading, click the link below for the original recipe.

Source: Annie's Eats

Pizza Bites

Ingredients:

2 cans refrigerated pizza dough (I used Pilsbury but I think next time it would be worthwhile to make my own crust)
1 bag of shredded mozzarella cheese
4 oz thin sliced pepperoni
2 tsp Italian seasoning (combine oregano, basil, parsley, and garlic)
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
pizza or marinara sauce

Directions:

Prepare pizza dough and roughly chop pepperoni.

If you are going to bake some right away preheat oven to 400°F. Grease 3 pie pans.

If using refrigerated pizza dough: roll one dough out into a large rectangle and cut into 24 pieces. I didn't lay out my dough properly so mine turned out a little wonky and funny shaped, but in the end they were fine, just a little more difficult to close up some of them.

Repeat with 2nd pizza dough. If using homemade dough just pinch off walnut sized pieces as you go. In each dough piece place a couple pieces of chopped pepperoni and a tablespoon of cheese. Seal dough around meat and cheese and place seam side down in pie pan.

Repeat, placing approximately 16 dough balls in each pie plate.  Once assembled, combine oil and spices and brush over the dough. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Now you can cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate or freeze or you can bake right away.

When ready to bake: bake at 400°F for 16-20 min. Serve with warm pizza or marinara sauce.

Source: Elizabeth's Edible Experience

Honey Yeast Rolls

I made these a few weeks ago when we had dinner with some friends. She was in charge of the chili (which was amazing, by the way) and I was in charge of the bread and dessert.

I don't think I gave the rolls enough time to rise (I started too late. Oops.) So they were very dense (which her husband and my husband prefered, I think). I think next time, though, I'll actually, oh... follow the directions maybe? LOL.  As we were eating these we kept mentioning different things they'd be great with. My favorite suggestion was as a turkey sandwich with leftover Thanksgiving turkey.

Honey Yeast Rolls
print this recipe
y
ields 12 rolls

Ingredients:
2 ¼ t. instant yeast
1 C warm water (105°-115°)
¼ C honey
3 T. canola oil
1 ¼ t. salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 C bread flour
vegetable cooking spray
1 T. butter, melted
1 T. honey

Directions:
Combine the yeast and warm water in the bowl of an electric mixer. Using the paddle attachment, mix in the honey, oil, egg and salt and blend.

Mix in 3 cups of the bread flour and beat until the dough forms a sticky ball. Add the last 1 C of flour and beat until the flour is completely mixed in with the dough.

Switch to using the dough hook and continue to knead until the dough is smooth and stretchy, not tacky. This will take about 8 minutes.

Lightly spray a large bowl with the oil, then drop in the dough ball, turning it around in the bowl to coat it. Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel and let rise for about 2 hours, or until it doubles in size.

Lightly dust a counter or surface with flour, then turn the dough out and knead for about 30 seconds. Cover again and let it rest for about 10 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to 400°.

Punch down the dough, then divide and shape into 12 equal sized mini-dough balls.

Place the dough ball on a lightly greased baking sheet. Cover again and let them rise for about 20 minutes.

Mix together the butter and honey, then brush over the tops of the dough balls.

Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Source: Annie's Eats

Penne Rustica

I told you I loved What's Cooking in the Orange Kitchen! This is my 3rd update in a row from her blog :)

This pasta was heavy but fantastic. And incidentally, it made fantastic leftovers for lunch the next day too. I was a little heavy handed with the pepper flakes and cayenne pepper so it had a bit of a kick which was great because we love spicy!

Sauce:
1 tbsp Butter
1 tbsp Garlic (I used 4 cloves)
1/2 tbsp Dijon Mustard
1/2 tspn Salt
1/2 tspn Chopped Rosemary
1/2 cup Marsala Wine
1/8 tspn Cayenne Pepper
4 cups Heavy Cream (half and half is a fine substitute) I also used a tsp of red pepper flakes
1/4-1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Saute butter, garlic and rosemary until garlic begins to brown (DON'T burn your garlic, it will be bitter. I added the wine as soon as the edges of the garlic turned golden). Add Marsala wine and reduce by 1/3. Add remaining ingredients and reduce by half of original volume set aside. (I added parmesan cheese now)

Penne:
1/2 oz pancetta or bacon (I used bacon)
9 ea. Shrimp, peeled and deveined (I left out the shrimp)
6 oz. grilled chicken breast, sliced
16 oz. penne, pre-cooked
3 oz. butter (I used less than a tbsp)
1/2 Tbsp shallots,chopped
Pinch of Salt & pepper
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp paprika
a sprinkle of red pepper flakes
sprinkle of cayenne peppe
r

Saute pancetta until it begins to brown. Add butter, shallots and shrimp. (I first melted the butter, then cooked the pancetta, then added the shallots and shrimp)Cook until shrimp are evenly pink but still translucent.(I used precooked so really I only warmed them) Add chicken, salt and pepper; mix thoroughly. Add sauce and 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese (I had already added the parmesan cheese)and simmer until sauce thickens. In a large bowl(I added my cooked pasta to my skillet then just put it right in my casserole dish), combine shrimp and chicken mixture with precooked pasta. Place this mixture into single serving dishes or one large casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese and sprinkle with paprika. Bake at 300*(400) for 10-15 minutes.

Chicken Marsala

This is, quite possibly, my husband's favorite thing I've made. He LOVED it. I can't say I disagree with him. Yum!

Ingredients:

4-6 thin chicken breast pounded out to 1/8 inch thickness
1/2 cup flour
1/3-1/2 cup butter
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups mushrooms, sliced (We left these out)
1-2 cloves garlic minced
3/4 cup marsala wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 box angel hair pasta

Directions:

Dredge the chicken in flour. Place 2 chicken breasts at a time in the skillet with 2 tablespoons melted butter (add more with each addition if needed) in skillet. Cook over low heat for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. As each one is done place it in a 9x13 baking dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Repeat until all chicken is cooked.

Adding more butter if needed, saute mushrooms and garlic in the same skillet. When the mushrooms are done use a slotted spoon to remove the mushrooms and place them on top of the chicken.

Use the marsala wine to deglaze the pan then stir in the chicken stock. Bring to a boil then reduce the temperature. Spoon 1/2 of the sauce over the chicken. Top the chicken with cheese and bake at 425 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

While the chicken is baking prepare angel hair noodles. When the noodles are done drain the water and dump the noodles into the pan with remaining sauce.

Serve chicken and mushrooms over top of angel hair pasta.

**Recipe note** If you are concerned with the amount of butter in this recipe you can substitute olive oil for half of the butter. Some butter is required to give it a rich flavor but it is perfectly okay to use half butter and half olive oil.

Source: What's Cooking in the Orange Kitchen

Chicken & Mushrooms in Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce

I've been a blogging slacker for a couple of weeks now. Morning sickness makes my kitchen an evil place to be pretty often these days which makes me so sad! I miss doing baking on the weekends and finding good things to make for dinners. I have a barrage of updates of things I've made in the last few weeks that I'm finally getting around to posting.

This is one of the first recipe blog recipes that I made and it was a HUGE hit. I love What's Cooking in the Orange kitchen- she always has fantastic recipes and are fairly idiot proof (phew! LOL) and absolutely delicious. This one was no exception.

Ingredients:

1 pound of chicken breast cut into bite size pieces
2 tbsp flour
1 tsp dry sage
1 tsp dry parsley flakes
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 cup of sliced mushrooms (I left the mushrooms out. Because, you know, ew.)
1 bulb of garlic roasted (400 degree oven for 1 hour with a drizzle of EVOO)
2 tbsp butter
a drizzle of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
1 tbsp flour
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 bag of No-Yolk egg noodles

Directions:

Start by combining the flour, sage, parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper in a bowl.
Toss the bite size chunks of chicken in the flour mixture to coat.
In a large skillet melt 1 tbsp of butter and a drizzle of evoo
Saute the chicken for a minute then add the mushrooms and some of the
roasted garlic (I think I squeezed in 3 cloves for this part). Continue to saute for 5 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the skillet and cover in foil. (Now is also a good time to cook your egg noodles)
To the skillet add the remaining tbsp of butter and flour.
Then add the chicken broth, white wine and remaining roasted garlic. Let simmer for 5 minutes.
Slowly add the half and half and let it reduce.
When the sauce has thickened return the chicken and mushrooms to pan and let simmer.
Serve with the egg noodles.

Source: What's Cooking in the Orange Kitchen

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Bourbon chicken

Ingredients:

2 lbs Boneless Chicken Breasts, cut into bite size pieces
2T Olive Oil

1 Garlic Clove
, crushed
1/4t
Ginger (I used 1/2t)
3/4t C
rushed Red Pepper Flakes (I used 1/2t)
1/4C Apple Juice
1/3C L
ight Brown Sugar
2T
Ketchup
1T
Cider Vinegar
1/2C W
ater
1/3C
Soy Sauce

1T Corn Starch

Directions:

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add chicken pieces and cook until lightly browned. Remove chicken and set aside. 

Add remaining ingredients (mixing corn starch with water before adding to skillet), heating over medium heat until well mixed and dissolved.

 
Return chicken and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

 
Serve over hot rice.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Faux-reo, the Oreo knock-off

What? What was that? I'm sorry I couldn't hear you over the sound of how AWESOME these cookies are! My husband is a HUGE oreo fan. He'll eat a whole row of oreos in one sitting. So when I came across this recipe a few weeks ago it immediately moved to the top of my to-make list. Now that I've made one batch I'm already planning on making another tonight. Oh so good.

I made my cookies quite large unintentionally. They turned out about 4-5 inches in diameter and they ended up more on the cripsy side versus gooey and soft. But still fabulous. Next time I'm going to use my large Pampered Chef scoop and bake them for the minimum amount of time.

Ingredients:

1-1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup dutch-process cocoa*
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cubed and room temp
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/3 cup milk
1-1/2 cups chopped white chocolate (a 4-oz. Ghiradelli bar yielded 1.5 cups for me)

(Note from original source)

*Substituting with natural unprocessed cocoa is not recommended. The Oreo-like flavor comes from the richer dutch-processed cocoa. I used Hershey Special Dark blend of dutch-processed and natural because I cannot find pure dutch-processed in these parts for the life of me!

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and line baking sheets with silicone baking mat or parchment paper.

Whisk together flour, salt, baking powder and cocoa, and set aside. Beat the butter on medium-high until light and add sugars, creaming well. Add the vanilla and beat until smooth. Add the flour mixture in 2 batches, alternately with the milk in one batch, mixing well. Chill dough for 15 minutes.

Scoop the dough onto a parchment- or silpat-lined cookie sheet, press down on them slightly, and bake (see note below). Let the cookies cool completely on the cookie sheet and store in an air-tight container.

Note: Shawnda states that she uses a No 12 scoop to drop a well rounded scoop of chilled cookie dough (a little less than 1/2 cup of cookie dough) and bakes for 24 minutes. At this size she gets 8 or 9 cookies with a diameter of 6 inches using the No 12 scoop. If you scoop a more normal sized cookie, she estimates 12-16 minutes in the oven. I used a large cookie scoop from Pampered Chef, which is approximately 3 Tablespoons in size, and I got 13 cookies out of my batch, with 18-20 minutes in the oven seeming to do the trick.

Source: Brown Eyed Baker

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Garlic Cheese Biscuits

I searched high and low for a good cheesy garlic biscuit recipe to go with our Cajun chicken pasta tonight (which, again, was heavenly. One of my new favorite foods for sure). I finally came across these at allrecipes.com and decided to give them a try.

They were very tasty, but I think I made them a little too big because they turned out very, very flat. Next time I make them I'll try them smaller. I think I'm also going to try to put the garlic into the batter and bake it since the butter w/garlic on the top was a bit much for me- too buttery. Otherwise I give them 2 thumbs up.

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
5 tablespoons butter
1 cup milk
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

1/4 cup butter, melted
1 clove garlic, minced

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 450°. Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a large bowl. Cut in the butter until it is coarse crumbles. Make a well in the center of the flour mix and pour in the milk and cheese. Mix until well combined.

Scoop spoonfuls of batter onto an ungreased baking sheet.

Cook for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Brush melted butter and garlic mixture over the still warm biscuits.

Source: allrecipes.com

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Chicken Pot Pie

This recipe is so delicious and so simple! My dear friend Dana has had this on her blog for several months and I can say with great emphasisim, it is fantastic!

I made a few changes to how I usually make it this time, including making it mile-high style (this was one BIG pie) and adding 1/2 a can of cream of celery soup. I also used a rotisserie chicken, lemon-herb seasoned, this time since I was in a bit of a rush to make it. I can't tell you how good it was!

Ingredients:

1 package of rolled refridgerated Prepared Pie Crust (Found in the pillsbury section of store)
1 to 2 cups Chicken cooked and shredded into bite sized pieces
1 (16 oz) bag of your favorite frozen vegetables cut into bite sized pieces (I use peas and carrots)
2 cans Cream of Chicken Soup

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 375°

Place first pie crust into pie pan and smooth down. Alternately fill crust with cooked chicken, veggies (You can cook them first, I never do and it turns out well) and soup until it reaches desired fullness. Place 2nd crust on top and pinch the edges together.

Vent the top crust a few times.

Bake at 375° for 45 minutes.

Source: Dana at Freddie's Favorite Foods

Herb Chicken with Creamy Orzo

This is one of the very first recipes I tried in my adventures into non-sucky cooking. In reality, I think successfully making this for dinner is what finally made me realize that I could actually improve my culinary skills and made me want to try. So kudos to Annie from Annie’s Eats for the inspiration )

This is the first time I’d ever made orzo and ooooh yum! It certainly won’t be the last! The recipe makes a lot of leftover orzo and about enough chicken for 2 full servings plus a bit leftover for lunch the next day. I really liked just the orzo and sauce by itself so I froze the leftover orzo and used it a few weeks later for another lunch or two. It froze very nicely which surprised me.

Herbed Chicken with Creamy Orzo

Ingredients:

8 oz. orzo
2 chicken breasts, pounded thin
2 tsp. Herbes de Provence
salt and pepper, to taste
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, with juices
1 ½ cups fresh broccoli florets
½-2/3 cup whipping cream
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan

 

Directions: 

Bring a saucepan of salted water to boil over medium-high heat.  Add the orzo and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring often, about 10 minutes.  Drain, reserving ½ cup of the cooking liquid.
Season chicken breasts on both sides with Herbes de Provence (1 tsp. per breast), salt and pepper.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add the chicken to the pan and cook 4-5 minutes before turning.  Once chicken has been turned, cook 2 minutes more. 

 
Add the shallot and garlic to the pan and sauté until tender, about 2 minutes (adding more olive oil if necessary).  Add the diced tomatoes to the pan and cook for about 4 minutes.  Add the broccoli florets to the pan and cook for 4 minutes more, until tender but still firm. 

Reduce the heat to medium and add the whipping cream.  Add the orzo to the pan and stir to coat.  Remove from heat and add grated Parmesan to the pasta mixture and toss to coat.  Stir the pasta mixture until the sauce coats the pasta thickly, adding enough reserved cooking liquid to maintain a creamy consistency. 

Season generously with salt and pepper.  Serve.

Source: Annie's Eats

Honey Wheat bread

I first made this bread a few months ago and I really enjoy it. While the American Sandwich bread still holds a special place in my heart (and a weekly spot in my kitchen), this bread is a great one to break up the routine. It is fully with a slightly sweet flavor.

We ended up switching to another bread only because Brian's toast in the morning was coming out almost fuzzy feeling out of the toaster. Turns out we just needed a sharper bread knife! So, I think this one will be back in popular demand very soon.

bread2

Ingredients:

1 (.25 oz) pkg. rapid rise yeast
1 tsp. white sugar
½ cup warm water (110° F/45° C)
1 (12 fl. oz.) can evaporated milk
¼ cup water
¼ cup melted butter
¼ cup honey
2 tsp. salt
2 cups whole wheat flour
3 cups bread flour
2 tbsp. butter

Directions:

Dissolve yeast and sugar in ½ cup warm water.

Combine milk, ¼ cup water, melted butter, honey, salt and wheat flour in food processor or bowl. Mix in yeast mixture, and let rest 15 minutes. Add white flour and process until the dough forms a ball. Knead dough by processing an additional 80 seconds or mix and knead by hand 10 minutes. Place the dough in a buttered bowl, and turn to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rise for 45 minutes, or until almost doubled.

Punch down, and divide dough in half. Roll out each half, and pound out the bubbles. Form into loaves, and place in buttered 9×5” loaf pans. Butter the tops of the dough, and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm area until doubled; second rise should take about 30 minutes.

Place a small pan of water on the bottom shelf of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375° F.

Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until tops are dark golden brown. Butter crusts while warm. Slice when cool.

Source: Annie's Eats

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Blue Cheese Dressing

I've only ever made this to go with our hot wings, I've never tried it on salad, but considering how good it is on hot wings I can only imagine it would go well with other things also.

Ingredients:

1/2 Cup plain yogurt or dairy sour cream
1/4 Cup cottage cheese
1/4 Cup mayonnaise
3/4 Cup crumbled blue cheese
1-2 Tbls milk

Directions:

Combine the sour cream/yogurt, cottage cheese, mayonnaise and 1/4 cup of the blue cheese in a food processor or blender. Puree until smooth. Stir in the rest of the blue cheese until well mixed. Add milk until it reaches the desired consistency.

Source: Better Homes & Gardens cookbook

Buffalo Chicken Strips

Boneless buffalo wings are one of my favorite foods- that's saying a lot. We've been making boneless wings with our fryer for a couple of years now but 1) it's so bad for you with all of that fried food and 2) the oil is oh so expensive.

I came across this recipe a while ago and it's been in my saved folder since. I finally decided to make it and I'm so glad I did.

The problem I had was that I forgot to print the recipe so I was just carting around my laptop in the kitchen. Part way through my mixing up the ingredients my husband stole the laptop. I assumed I'd read through the instructions enough times to continue. Turns out I completely left out the hot sauce/pepper sauce step altogether. And I did the dipping the chicken in the wrong order. Double Oops! Thankfully they still turned out absolutely fabulously! Next time I'm actually going to follow the recipe and see how they are.

I served these with homemade blue cheese dressing.

Buffalo Chicken Strips
print this recipe

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups coarsely crushed cornflakes
1 pound chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch-thick strips
Cooking spray
1/3 cup hot sauce
1 teaspoon Tobasco
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon butter

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°.

In a shallow bowl combine the flour, garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, salt and pepper.  Beat the eggs into another shallow bowl. Pour the cornflakes into a 3rd bowl.

Take the first strip of chicken, dip in the flour mixture, then drege in the egg, then through the cornflakes. Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Repeating with the remaining chicken strips.

Lightly spray the chicken strips with spray oil and bake for 10 minutes, turning once mid-way through.

In a small saucepan bring the hot sauce, Tobasco and Worcestershire sauce to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter.

Pour the hot sauce over the chicken strips and serve.

Source: Amber's Delectable Delights

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

I love macaroni and cheese. It stands comfortably in my top 5 favorite foods. I have a system of judging how much I like a certain food: If I would eat it cold as well as heated, it's a winner. (e.g. the cajun chicken pasta recipe I have is excellent cold. As is the beef stroganoff) This macaroni and cheese, while weird in texture when cold, is deeeelicious hot or cold. MMm.

I made this recipe as a hybrid from 2 other baked mac and cheese recipes I'd tried over the years. One from my good friend Mandy, and one my mom passed to me from someone at our old church like 20 years ago. I took the elements I liked from each and created this very simple recipe.

Ingredients:

4 Cups elbow macaroni (I prefer cavatapi- it's fun shaped and holds the cheese well)
5 Tbls butter
5 Tblp all-purpose flour
5 Cups milk (I prefer whole milk, because yum, but even skim works really well)
2 Tbls salt
1 Lb grated cheese (I use mild cheddar)
Directions:

Preheat oven to 350

Cook pasta according to package directions, drain, then rinse in hot water. Set aside.

Melt butter in a medium-large sauce pan.
Add the flour and cook until it is well mixed and slightly browned.
Add the milk and stir constantly until boiling and thickened. (Somewhere between 5-10 minutes. I've never timed it)

Add the salt, mix. Add the cheese and stir until it has fully melted.

Mix the pasta into the cheese sauce and pour into a 13x9 glass baking dish.

Bake 30 minutes or until browned and bubbling at the edges.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Apple-Stuffed Pork Loin with Cider Sauce

Ingredients:

For the stuffing:

2 Tbs. olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped Golden Delicious or other  baking apple (I used Northern Spy apples)
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 garlic clove, finely chopped (I used 3 smallish cloves)
1/2 cup finely chopped dried apples or 1/2 cup finely chopped dried apricots (I used apricots)
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 cup apple cider

For the Pork:

1 boneless pork loin, 2 1/2 lb.
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 cup apple cider, plus more as needed
2 tsp. cornstarch

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 400º

To make the stuffing, in a large fry pan over medium-low heat, warm the olive oil. Add the apple and onion and sauté until golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the dried apples (apricots), raisins and thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Add the apple cider and boil, stirring occasionally, until the cider is absorbed by the stuffing, about 5 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Position a rack in the center of an oven. Have ready 4 pieces of kitchen string, each about 18 inches long.

Butterfly the pork loin by making a slit down its length, cutting just deep enough so that the loin opens up to lie flat like a book. Do not cut all the way through. Spoon the stuffing evenly onto the meat. Close up the loin and, using the strings, tie at even intervals so it assumes its original shape. Push in any stuffing that escapes from the ends. Sprinkle the surface with the thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Place the loin in a baking pan and add 1/2 cup of the cider to the pan.

Roast the loin for 30 minutes. Baste with the pan juices and add the remaining 1/2 cup cider to the pan. Continue to roast, basting at least twice with the pan juices at regular intervals, until the meat is firm to the touch and pale pink when cut in the thickest portion, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 150°F, about 45 minutes more.

Transfer the loin to a cutting board and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Scrape the pan bottom to dislodge any remaining bits, then pour the pan juices into a measuring pitcher and add additional cider as needed to measure 1 1/2 cups total. In a small saucepan, combine 1/4 cup of the pan juices and the cornstarch, and stir until the cornstarch is dissolved. Then add the remaining pan juices. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook, stirring, until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Pour the sauce into a warmed bowl.

Cut the loin into slices and arrange on a warmed platter. Serve the hot cider sauce on the side. Serves 8.

Source: Williams-Sonoma

Cinnamon Apple Squash

I bought a butternut squash and an acorn squash at our farmers market a few weeks ago and never got around to using them. I finally decided to do something with them today but I couldn't decide what. I finally just threw each squash into the oven and concocted this tasty little mix to go with our dinner. It was easy and fairly maintenance-free.

Ingredients:

1 whole butternut squash
1 acorn squash
3/4-1 Cup apple cider
2-3 Tbls cinnamon
2-3 Tbls brown sugar
8-10 baking apples

Directions:

Slice both squash in half length-wise and place skin-side up in a 9x13 glass pan. Add just enough water that the bottom of the pan is covered. Bake for 45 minutes at 350, or just long enough that the squash is easy to cut/chunk (pokes easily with a fork, but not squishy).

Remove squash from the pan and cut into 2-3 inch chunks, removing the skin. Place in a crock pot on low heat.

Peel apples and dice into 1 inch cubes/slices. Add to crock pot.

Add cider and cinnamon to the crock pot. Cook on low for 6-7 hours.

Before serving add brown sugar and mix well.

Source: Me

Corn bread

I absolutely love corn bread, but I haven't had it in years. The last time I had it was, I'm certain, the Jiffy corn bread mix. That hardly counts! :)

So when I was looking for a nice side dish or two for dinner tonight I thought of this. It paired quite nicely.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. stone-ground yellow cornmeal
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 c. brown sugar, packed
3/4 c. corn
1 c. buttermilk
2 large eggs
8 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

Directions:

Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Spray 8-inch-square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl until combined; set aside.
In food processor or blender, process brown sugar, corn kernels, and buttermilk until combined, about 5 seconds.
Add eggs and process until well combined (corn lumps will remain), about 5 seconds longer.
Using rubber spatula, make a well in the center of the dry ingredients.
Pour wet ingredients into well.
Begin folding dry ingredients into wet, giving mixture only a few turns to barely combine.
Add melted butter and continue folding until dry ingredients are just moistened.
Pour batter into prepared baking dish; smooth surface with rubber spatula.
Bake until deep golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 25 to 35 minutes.
Cool on wire rack rack 10 minutes.
Best served warm; leftovers can be wrapped in foil and reheated in a 350 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes

Source: Good Things Catered

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Feta dip

Since I made pita over the weekend, I figured I needed to make something fabulous to go with it. One of Brian and my favorite indulgences is pita and feta dip. I set out on a quest to find a great feta dip recipe. Turns out, it wasn't hard! The first recipe I found was SUPER easy and oh so good! It made for a darn good dinner tonight :)

Ingredients:

8 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 T. non-fat milk
1-2 cloves of garlic, crushed (I used 4 large cloves)

The original recipe also calls for 10 fresh mint leaves, but I left these out and added a hefty amount of crushed black pepper.

Directions:

Mix thoroughly in food processor (I used my kitchen-aid with the whisk attachment since my food processor is lame)

Source: Recipe Zaar

Pita bread

I love pita bread. We buy it every week or two to snack on with hummus. So, when I saw this recipe on Brown Eyed Baker I immediately added it to my Must Try list. I really enjoyed this recipe. I think next time I'm going to try half wheat flour and see how they turn out.

My only note to the recipe is that it turned out a lot stickier than I was expecting- must more so than any bread recipe I've ever done before. I actually threw away the first batch because I thought I'd messed something up. It turned out great in the end, though.

Pita Bread
print this recipe

Ingredients:
3 cups flour
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 Tablespoon sugar or honey
1 packet instant yeast
1 ½ to 1 ½ cups water at room temperature
2 tablespoons olive oil, vegetable oil, butter, or shortening

Directions:
Mix the yeast, flour, salt and sugar together in a bowl. Add in the water and olive oil and mix with a wooden spoon until the dough forms into a ball. Add a bit more water as needed.

Place the dough ball on a clean work surface and knead for about 10 minutes,or at low speed in an electric mixer for 10 minutes.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and roll it around to coat, then cover with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towl. Set the dough aside to rise for about 90 minutes, or until it has doubled in size.

Punch down the dough, then divide into 8 equal-sized pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, then cover with a damp kitchen towl and let rest for 20 minutes.

Pre-heat oven to 450°. Place a baking stone or upside-down cookie sheet into the oven while it heats.

Sprinkle a bit of flour on your work surface and roll out one of the dough balls either using your hands or a rolling pin until it is 1/8-¼ inch thick and 6 inches in diameter. If the dough will not stretch properly, cover with the damp towel again and let rest for an additional 5-10 minutes.

Place each of the shaped dough discs on a lightly greased surface and let rise, uncovered, for about 30-45 minutes. They will barely double in thickness.

Place the pitas on the hot baking surface, as many as can fit easily, and bake until puffy and slightly golden, about 3 minutes.

Source: Brown Eyed Baker

Monday, October 6, 2008

Chocolate Ice Cream

I'm never buying store-bought ice cream again. You may hold me to this.

A month or two ago Brian treated me to a brand new ice cream maker- the kitchen-aid mixer attatchment. I have an unhealthy love affair with my kitchen-aid as is. I would never bake bread without it. But now.... now it gives me ice cream. Proof that it really loves me back.

I made one recipe with it when I first purchased it and, needless to say, it's best to read the directions first. I completely ruined the ice cream. Such a sad day.  Since then I've been a little nervous to bust out the ice cream maker again in fear that I'll screw it up again. But yesterday my desire for all things chocolate out-won my fear of the unknown.

Enter: chocolate ice cream. (Do you hear that? Angels singing?)

Ingredients:

3 cups half-and-half
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (about 1 1/3 cups)
5 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 tsp. vannilla

Directions:

In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the half-and-half until bubbles form around the edges of the pan. Remove from the heat, add the chocolate and stir until smooth and blended.

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and salt until blended. Slowly add the chocolate cream, whisking constantly until fully incorporated.

Pour the mixture into the top pan of a double boiler. Set the pan over but not touching simmering water in the bottom pan. Cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until a finger drawn across the back of the spoon leaves a path, 10 to 12 minutes; do not allow the custard to boil. Pour the custard through a fine-mesh sieve set over a clean bowl and stir in the vanilla. Nestle the bowl in a larger one filled halfway with ice and water. Cool the custard, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.

Transfer the custard to an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer the ice cream to a freezer-safe container, cover and freeze until firm, 3 to 4 hours, before serving. Makes about 1 quart.

Source: Williams-Sonoma

Spinach lasagna

I have to admit, I feel a touch silly for posting a lasagna recipe. I mean, it's actually fairly simple, no-brainer recipe. But since Brian swears he doesn't like lasagna, then inhaled the largest piece of lasagna I've ever seen, I figured aw, heck. I may as well.  I know that if I don't write it down or post it, he'll ask for it a few months later and I'll have completely forgotten what exactly I'd put in it.

Ingredients:
1/2 package of lasagna noodles, cooked for about 2/3rds the time on the package

2 jars of pasta sauce

3 lbs mozzarella cheese (Yeah.... this isn't a diet-friendly lasagna)

12oz frozen chopped spinich, thawed

3 shallots, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic (ok more like 6- I love me some garlic) minced

2 eggs

1/2-3/4 cup ricotta cheese (I used cottage cheese this time since it's what I had on hand)

 

Directions:

 

Cook the pasta according to package directions. I didn't cook them fully, only until they were a smidge over al dente.

 

Saute shallots with garlic in a small amount of butter or olive oil (I used butter. Because yum)

 

Mix shallots & garlic with egg and ricotta cheese.

 

Spoon enough egg/cheese mixture into the bottom of a 13x9 inch pan, just enough to very lightly cover the bottom.

 

Mix the spinach with 1 to 1 1/2 jars of pasta sauce in a large bowl. I mixed this with my hands, then just smeared a hearty layer on top of the egg/cheese mix in the bottom of the pan.

 

Place one layer of pasta across the pan.

 

Cover that layer with mozzarella. Repeat this sequence until the pan is full.

 

For good measure, under the very last layer of cheese I also added some red pepper flakes, basil and oregano.

 

Bake at 450 until the cheese bubbles around the edges.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

French onion soup

This soup was labeled as a Panera Bread french onion soup knock-off. The thing is, now that we have had this, Brian and I actually prefer it to Panera's!

FOR THE ONIONS:
1/4 cup butter
4 medium yellow onions, sliced

FOR THE SOUP:
2 cans (14 oz each) (Swanson) beef broth
3/4 cup (Swanson) chicken broth
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 drops Tabasco sauce

FOR THE GARNISH:
Focaccia (or other bread) (for croutons)
shaved Asiago Cheese

TO PREPARE THE ONIONS:
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. When the butter is melted, add sliced onions and saute for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring often, until onions turn brown.

TO MAKE THE SOUP:
Add remaining ingredients for the soup to the pan and stir to combine. Heat soup until it's boiling, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes.

TO MAKE THE CROUTONS:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Slice focaccia bread (or any bread you want to use) into 3/4-inch thick slices. Butter both sides of those slices, then cut the slices into bite-size cubes.

Bake the bread in a 425 degree oven for 15 minutes or until crispy.

TO SERVE:
Serve the soup super hot with a handful of croutons floating on top followed by a couple tablespoons of shaved Asiago cheese.

*You can use a potato peeler to shave the Asiago cheese by dragging it over the edge of the cheese wedge.

Servings: 8

American Sandwich Bread

I love making bread. I never thought I'd say that, but I do. I look forward to baking different things on the weekends but I really love bread. I think it's partially because of the sick, twisted joy I get out of punching down the dough.

This has become my go-to standard, all time favorite bread to make.

I tend to do half wheat flour and half white flour to make it a little bit "healthier" (Hey, whatever works for me to justify my huge intake of bread products...)




American Sandwich Bread
makes 1 loaf

Ingredients:

3¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the work surface 
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup warm whole milk (about 110 degrees)
1/3 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons honey
1 envelope (about 2¼ teaspoons) instant yeast

Directions:

Place oven rack to the lowest position. Heat oven to 200 degrees. Maintain oven temperature for 10 minutes then turn the oven off.

In the bowl of a stand mixer combine flour & salt. In a small bowl combine the milk, water, butter, honey, and yeast. Using the dough hook slowly mix the liquid mixture with the flour and salt. When the dough starts to come together evenly increase the mixer speed and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. 

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover, then place in the warmed oven to raise for 40-50 minutes, or until dough doubles in size.

Shape the dough into a rectangle and place, seam-side down, into a loaf pan. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and rise in a warm place for 1 hour.

Place an empty baking pan (not glass!) on the oven rack at the lowest position. Place the second oven rack at the middle position. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. 

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Pour the boiling water into the empty baking pan inside the oven. Bake the loaf on the middle rack for 40-50 minutes.

Remove the bread from the pan and let cool for 10-15 minutes.

Source: Brown Eyed Baker

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

Ingredients:

1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 large baking potatoes, peeled & cubed
1/2 cup diced prosciutto (I used bacon)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 cup sliced button mushrooms (I left these out since we're not mushroom fans)
8 cups chicken broth
1 stalk green onion, sliced
1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup heavy cream or half & half
1-2 cups shredded cooked chicken (optional)

Directions:

In a dutch oven (I used a large stock pot on the stovetop), heat over medium heat & add butter and oil.
When butter/oil is heated, add onions, garlic and prosciutto.
When prosciutto has crisped up, sprinkle in flour.
Stir and cook until the raw flour smell is gone - about 2 mins.
Add mushrooms and cook until softened.
Add chicken broth and potatoes.
Allow potatoes to cook until tender.
Add green onion and slowly stir in cheese until melted.
Add cream/half & half and stir, allowing it to warm through.
Add chicken if using or serve as it with hot toasty bread.

Source: Joelen's Culinary Adventures

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

I told you I was on a muffin kick!

These are my all-time favorite muffin I've ever eaten. Brian took 2 1/2 pans of muffins up hunting with him. He was gone for one full day and came home empty handed! They'd eaten all of them! Boy am I glad I'd taken a few for myself before he left!

I think if I'm going to make enough of these to freeze (like I've been doing with the rest of the muffins) I'm going to have to make a double batch- 6 pans of muffins!



Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, slightly beaten
2 cups granulated sugar
1 can (15 oz.) LIBBY’S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350º. Grease 36 muffin cups with non-stick spray or line with paper liners.

Combine all-purpose flour, wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a bowl. Set aside.

Combine sugar and butter in a large bowl and mix. Add pumpkin and oil and mix well.

Stir in flour mixture until just moistened. Stir in the chocolate.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top springs back when lightly touched.

Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes then remove muffins from their pans.

Source: Loves To Eat

Raspberry Lemon Muffins

Ingredients:

2 C flour
1 C sugar
1 Tbls baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 cup light cream
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp lemon extract
1 1/2 fresh or frozen raspberries


Directions:

In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

In a separate bowl, combine eggs, cream, oil & lemon extract .
Stir in the dry ingredients until just moistened.

Fold in raspberries. Spoon into 18 greased or paper lined muffin cups.

Sprinkle each muffin with sugar.

Bake at 400 for 18-20 minutes.


Source: Unknown, from my mom's recipe collection

Applesauce Oatmeal Muffins

I've been on a huge muffin making kick lately. Most of the muffins have bucket loads of sugar (see the banana crumb recipe, for instance). While I love them, I was very pleased when I came across this recipe for a healthier muffin option. It helps that they're delicious, too :)  When I made these I left out the nuts and raisins but I think next time I'll try the raisins just to change it up a bit.



Ingredients:

1 cup rolled oats (not instant)
1 cup reduced-fat milk
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 egg whites
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. granulated sugar
Nuts or raisins (optional)

Directions:

Soak the oats in the milk for an hour. Pre-heat the oven to 400º. Spray muffin tins with non-stick spray or full cups with liners.

Mix together dry ingredients.

In a separate bowl, mix the oats and milk with applesauce and egg white.

Combine the dry and wet ingredients until just mixed. Add in nuts &/or raisins. Do not over mix or the muffins will be very tough.

Spoon the batter into muffin cups. Combine cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle some to the top of each muffin.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Pizza crust

I love pizza. Love it. But I've never found a homemade pizza that I liked enough to repeat until I came across this recipe. It's truely heavenly! Even Brian has admitted that he likes this crust better than local pizza places! Success!



Ingredients:
½ cup warm water (~110°)
2 ¼ teaspoons instant yeast
1 ¼ cups warm water, at room temperature
2 Tablepsoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
1 ½ teaspoons salt
olive oil or cooking spray for greasing the bowl

Directions:
Measure the warm water into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup.  Sprinkle in the yeast and let stand until the yeast dissolves and swells, about 5 minutes.  Add the room temperature water and oil and stir to combine.  

 


Place the flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Briefly combine the dry ingredients at low speed.  Slowly add the liquid ingredients and continue to mix at low speed until a cohesive mass forms.  Stop the mixer and replace the paddle with the dough hook.  Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.  Form the dough into a ball, put it in a deep oiled bowl, and cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise until doubled in size, about 1 ½ to 2 hours.  Press the dough to deflate it.


 


To bake, place a pizza stone in the lower third of the oven.  Heat the oven to 500° for at least 30 minutes.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface.  Divide the dough into two equal pieces.  Form both pieces of dough into smooth, round balls and cover with a damp cloth.  Let the dough relax for at least 10 minutes but no more than 30 minutes.


 


Working with one piece of dough and keeping the other covered, shape the dough and transfer to a pizza peel or round of parchment dusted with semolina or cornmeal.  Top as desired.  Slide the dough onto the pizza stone.  Bake until the crust edges brown and cheese is golden brown in spots, about 8 to 12 minutes.  Repeat with remaining ball of dough or freeze for later use.


 


Source: Annie's Eats, by way of Brown Eyed Baker

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Buttermilk pancakes

Oh yum

I had some buttermilk left over from all the muffins I've been making so I decided to give this recipe a try. When it popped up on my google reader I knew I had to try it soon.

Part way through mixing together the ingredients I realized that I was out of white flour. All I had left was wheat (another side effect of the muffin-making). I decided to see how they turned out with 100% wheat flour.

All in all, they weren't bad. I probably won't make them 100% wheat again but I'd definitely make them half wheat half white flour. They were fluffy and delicious!

Buttermilk Pancakes (edited 11/13 to update directions)
print this reicpe

Ingredients:
2 C. all-purpose flour
1/4 C. sugar
2 1/4 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
2 eggs
2 C. buttermilk
1/4 C. butter, melted and cooled

Directions:
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder baking soda, sugar and salt.

In another bowl, beat the eggs then add in the buttermilk and butter and whisk until combined.

Whisk the buttermilk mixture in with the dry ingredients until just combined. The batter may be a bit lumpy- that's ok.

Scoop the batter onto a heated skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes. Flip the pancake and cook the otherside until golden. Serve and enjoy!

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Apple butter

Ingredients:

6lbs of apples, peeled and cored

1/4 cup brown sugar (heavily packed)

1/4 cup apple cider

1/4 tsp cloves

1/2- 1 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

Put apples, cider and spices into crock pot. Cook on high for 1-2 hours, then lower to low heat and cook for 7-8 more hours or until apples are tender. Puree or blend for a smoother consistency.

Source: Me!

Crockpot chicken with stuffing

Crockpot Chicken with Stuffing
print this recipe

Ingredients:
6 chicken breasts
6 pieces pre-sliced cheese
1 1/2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1/4 cup milk
2 cups herb stuffing mix (can use extra if desired -- turkey flavor recommended)
1 can chicken broth

Directions:
Place the chicken breasts in the crock pot, layering if necessary. Add the cheese slices to the top of each of the chicken breasts.

In a medium bowl, mix togheter the mushroom soup and milk, then spoon over the chicken breasts.

Pour a box (or two) of stuffing mix into the crockpot. Pour the can of chicken broth over the stuffing mix to dampen and cook 8-10 hours on low.

Source: original source unknown

Beef Stroganoff

My all time favorite food! I even eat it for breakfast :) If I were to recommend any recipe in the world, this would be it! 

Crockpot Beef Stroganoff
print this recipe

Ingredients:
3 lbs beef round steak cut into 1'' cubes (I use about 2 lbs instead)
2 medium onions, sliced and cut into pieces
1 10.75 oz can beef broth
1 can of mushrooms, drained (optional)
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp ground mustard
1 cup sour cream
1 1/4 cups flour


Directions:
Place beef in a gallon bag, coat with the flour and mustard seasoning. I add 1/4 tsp of salt and some pepper. 

Shake until well coated. Place beef mixture into crock pot and stir in onions, beef broth and mushrooms.
Cook on low 8-10 hours. 

Just prior to serving stir in the sour cream. Serve over hot egg noodles.  

Source: My mom. Original source unknown.

Lemon Poppy Seed muffins

Possibly my all time favorite muffin, the lemon poppyseed. I skipped the glaze on this recipe when I made them but next time (*cough cough* this weekend *cough*) I'm going to make the glaze too. They freeze really nicely too.

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. poppy seeds
½ tsp. salt
1 ¼ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
½ cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
Zest of one lemon
1 cup vanilla yogurt (do not use non-fat)
1 tsp. vanilla extract

For glaze:
½ cup powdered sugar
1-2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners or spray with a nonstick vegetable spray. Set aside.

In a small bowl, stir together flour, poppy seeds, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the lemon zest, yogurt and vanilla and beat until well blended. Stir in the flour mixture until just moistened. Do not over mix.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pan and bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes before removing from the pan and glazing.

Glaze: If glazing, while muffins are baking stir together the powdered sugar and lemon juice. The mixture should be runny. Once the muffins are removed from the oven, wait five minutes and then drizzle the glaze over the muffins with a spoon.

 

Source: Annie's Eats

Buttermilk Spice muffins

These muffins remind me a lot of a really fluffy and soft snickerdoodle. Mine didn't come out as dark as the photo shown on the blog where I found it, but they were still delicious!



Ingredients:

7 Tbs. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

For the topping:
2/3 cup sugar
1 Tbs. ground cinnamon
6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 350°F. Grease 9 standard muffin cups with butter or butter-flavored nonstick cooking spray; fill the unused cups one-third full with water to prevent warping.

To make the muffins, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, combine the butter and sugar and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat well until pale and smooth.

In another bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. Add to the butter mixture in 2 additions, alternating with the buttermilk and vanilla. Stir just until evenly moistened. The batter will be slightly lumpy.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each three-fourths full. Bake until the muffins are golden, dry and springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Unmold the muffins and let stand until cool enough to handle.

To make the topping, in a small, shallow bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon. Put the melted butter in another small bowl. Holding the bottom of a muffin, dip the top into the melted butter, turning to coat it evenly. Immediately dip the top in the cinnamon-sugar mixture, coating it evenly, then tap it to remove excess sugar. Transfer the muffin, right side up, to the rack. Repeat with the remaining muffins. Let cool completely before serving. Makes 9 muffins

Source: Williams-Sonoma by way of Annie's Eats

Banana Crumb Muffins

Brian's favorite muffin! I've added these to my weekly baking list just for him!

The topping makes a TON, you could easily half it and still have plenty to spare.



Banana Crumb Muffins
print this recipe

Ingredients:
For the muffins
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
3 bananas, mashed
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, melted

For the topping
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 Tablespoon butter

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375°. Prepare 10 muffin cups with cooking spray or paper liners.

Mix together 1 ½ cups flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer blend the sugar, bananas, egg, cinnamon and butter. Beat the flour mixture into the banana mixture until just combined.

Scoop the batter into the muffin pans. 

Mix the brown sugar, 2 Tablespoons flour and cinnamon in a small bowl, then cut in 1 Tablespoon of butter until the mixture is well combined and resembles fine cornmeal.

Sprinkle the topping over the muffin batter.

Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Source:  Annie's Eats

Double chocolate muffins

These are SOOOOO good. I seriously could eat  4 of them in one sitting! But I don't! Because that would be wrong.
They do tend to come out a little dry for me so I would recommend adding a 2nd egg to the batter.

Double Chocolate Muffins
print this recipe

Ingredients:
6 T. unsalted butter
4-6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 C. all-purpose flour
2/3 C sugar
1/4 C unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1 T. baking powder
½ t. baking soda
½ t. salt
1¼ C buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 t. vanilla extract

Directions:
Pre-heat the oven to 375°, placing rack in the center of the oven. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners.

Whisk the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.

In another bowl whisk together the buttermilk, egg and vanilla. Set aside.

Chop the chocolate, then melt the butter and 2 oz. of the chocolate together in a double boiler (or a bowl  set over a saucepan of simmering water, or in the microwave). Remove from heat.

Pour the buttermilk mixture, melted butter and chocolate over the flour mixture. Gently whisk together until just combined. There maybe a few lumps- that's ok.

Mix in the rest of the chocolate. Scoop the batter into each of the muffin cups.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of muffin comes out clean.

Place on a wire cooling rack for 5 minutes, then remove the muffins from the pan and cool completely.

Source: Annie's Eats

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Blackened Chicken & Jerk Sweet Potatoes

This was a wonderful dinner from last week. The sweet potatoes ended up a little more done than I preferred which I blame mostly on my craptastic cookwear. Just a hint when cooking them: if something smells like it's burning in your kitchen, it probably is. Just my advice.

Blackened Chicken

Ingredients:

4 chicken breast mixed with

1 tablespoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Preheat oven to 350º. Pan fry chicken for one minute on each side to blacken. Transfer to the oven and bake for 5-10 minutes or until juices run clear.

Source: Adventures In My Freezer

 

Jerk Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients:

2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch thick fries (I did mine slightly thinner)
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment.

In large bowl, combine salt, garlic powder, sugar, chili powder, thyme, allspice, pepper, cinnamon and toss to combine.

Add sweet potato wedges and olive oil and toss to combine well.

Spread set potatoes out onto lined baking sheet and place in oven.

Bake until tender and lightly crisped, about 30 minutes, while turning twice through cooking.

Remove from oven, sprinkle with extra kosher salt if wanted, and serve.

Source: Good Things Catered

Cajun Chicken Pasta

100

Cajun Chicken Pasta
print this recipe

Ingredients:
4 ounces linguine pasta
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into 1 inch cubes
2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning (I used the chicken seasoning from this recipe)
2 tablespoons butter
1 green bell pepper, chopped (I left out this. We're not huge pepper people)
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
4 fresh mushrooms, sliced (I left out this as well. We're REALLY not mushroom people)
1 green onion, minced
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (I actually preferred it without the cheese)

Directions:
Cook the pasta according to package directions.

Cut up the chicken, then toss in a bowl with the cajun seasoning. Saute in a large skillet  until the chicken is fully cooked, about 5-7 minutes.

Add the peppers, green onions and mushrooms into the pan and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.

Reduce the heat on the pan and pour in the cream. Mix in the basil, lemon pepper, garlic powder, salt and black pepper and simmer until fully heated.

Pour the sauce and chicken over top of the pasta and garnish with Parmesan cheese.

Source: allrecipes.com by way of What's Cooking In the Orange Kitchen 

Monday, September 15, 2008

Mac and Cheese with a kick

I created this recipe using several others as inspiration. I kept seeing "grown up mac and cheese" on food blogs and websites in the last few weeks so I decided to try to make one for myself. It turned out to be a very simple and VERY tasty dinner!



Ingredients:

1 lb bag DeLallo Organic Whole Wheat Fusilli Bucati

1 1/2 cups (heavily packed) hot pepper-jack cheese

1 1/2 cups (heavily packed) cheddar cheese

2 cups milk

2 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsp flour

1 medium onion

2 cloves garlic

Directions:

Melt butter in a large saucepan. Saute onions and garlic in butter until slightly browned and soft. Add flour and stir until well coated.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions.

Add milk to sauce pan and stir until well thickened.

Add cheese and mix well until fully melted. (I found the pepper-jack took quite a bit longer to melt fully)

Drain noodles and mix in with cheese sauce and serve.

Enjoy :)

Source: me!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

French Bread

Yield: 4 baguettes, boules, or couronnes

Ingredients:

6 cups bread or unbleached flour
approximately 2 packages dry yeast
2 1/2 cups hot water 120-130° F)
2 teaspoons each salt and water

Baking Sheet or Pans:
1 baking sheet, teflon or greased and sprinkled with cornmeal, or 4 baguette pans, greased.

Directions:

Mixing the dough: By Hand or Mixer (10 mins)

The early part of this preparation, beating a batter, can be done by an electric mixer. However, don’t overload a light mixer with this thick batter. If by hand, stir vigorously for an equal length of time.

Measure 3 or 4 cups of flour into the mixing bowl and add the yeast and hot water. The mixer flat beater or whisk should run without undue strain. The batter will be smooth and pull away from the sides as the gluten develops. It may also try to climb up the beaters and into the motor. If it does, push it down with a rubber scraper. Mix for 10 minutes. When about finished, dissolve the salt in the water and add to the batter. Blend for 30 seconds or more.

Kneading: (10 mins.)

If the machine has a dough hook, continue with it and add additional flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough has formed under the hook and cleans the sides of the bowl. If it is sticky and clings, add sprinkles of flour. Knead for 10 minutes.

If by hand, add additional flour to the beaten batter, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring first with a utensil and then working by hand. When the dough is shaggy but a solid mass, turn onto a work surface and begin kneading with an aggressive push-turn-fold motion. If the dough is sticky, toss down sprinkles of flour. Break the kneading rhythm occasionally by throwing the dough down hard against the countertop - an excellent way to encourage the development of the dough.

First Rising: (2 hours)

Place the dough in a large greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and leave at room temperature for 2 hours. The dough will more than double in volume - and may even be pushing against the plastic covering.
(If prepared with a new fast-rising yeast and at the recommended higher temperatures, reduce the rising times by about half.)

Second Rising: (1 ½ hours)

Turn back the plastic wrap and turn the dough onto the work surface to knead briefly, about 3 minutes.
Return the dough to the bowl and re-cover with plastic. Allow to rise to more than triple its volume, about 1 ½ hours.

Shaping: (10 mins)

The dough will be light and puffy. Turn it onto the floured work surface and punch it down. Don’t be surprised if it pushes back, for it is quite resilient.

Divide the dough into as many pieces as you wish loaves. One-quarter (10 oz) of this recipe will make a baguette 22″ long and 3″ to 4″ in diameter.
Allow pieces of dough to rest for 5 minutes before shaping.

For boules or round loaves, shape the pieces into balls. Place in cloth-lined baskets (bannetons) or position directly on the baking sheet. For baguettes, roll and lengthen each dough piece under your palms to 16″ to 20″ , and 3″ to 4″ in diameter. Place in a pan or on a baking sheet or in the folds of a long cloth (couche).

This loaf’s characteristic couronne or “crown” can be made in several ways. One is to flatten the piece of dough, press a hole through the center with your thumb, and enlarge the hole with your fingers. Another is to roll a long strand 18″ to 24″ and curl into a circle, overlapping and pushing together the ends. Yet a third way is to take 2 or 3 shorter lengths of dough and join them together in a circle, not overlapping top and bottom but pressing the ends together side by side into a uniform pattern - this one will be irregular but attractive.

Third rising: (1 hour)

Cover the loaves with a cloth, preferably of wool, to allow air to reach the loaves and to form a light crust. Leave at room temperature until the dough has risen to more than double its size, about 1 hour.

Preheat:

Before preheating the oven to 450° F (very hot) 20 minutes before baking, place a broiler pan on the floor of the oven or bottom rack so it will be there later. Five minutes before baking, pour 1 cup hot water into the hot pan. Be careful of the burst of steam - it can burn.

Baking: (450° F, 25-30 min)

Carefully move the loaves in baskets and in couches to the baking sheet. Make diagonal cuts down the lengths of the long loaves and tic-tac-toe designs on the boules.
Place on the middle shelf of the oven.

The loaves are done when a golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Turn one loaf over and if the bottom crust sounds hard and hollow when tapped, the loaf is done.
(If using a convection oven, reduce heat 50 degrees.)

Place on a rack to cool

Source: Annie's Eats