Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Feather-Light Muffins

Warm and cinnamony!
These muffins are so yummy. They are lightly spiced, and after you bake them they are dipped into melted butter and swirled in cinnamon sugar! I found this recipe in an issue of Reminisce, I believe, it's hard to remember because it was so long ago.

I don't have muffin tins so I just plopped the dough onto a cookie sheet and it still baked up fine, they just looked more like scones than muffins.

Definitely serve these warm! Enjoy!

Feather-Light Muffins
1/3 cups Butter
1/2 cup Sugar
1 Egg
1 1/2 cups Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 cup Milk
Topping
1/2 cup Sugar
2 teaspoons Cinnamon
1/2 Butter melted
Cream butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl, then add egg and mix in well. Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and add to the butter mixture alternately with the milk. If you have a muffin tin put the batter into the greased muffin tin (make 8-10 muffins). If you don't have a muffin tin, grease a cookie sheet and drop the batter into eight blobs. Bake at 325 for approximately 20 minutes or until the center is done.

While the muffins are cooking place the melted butter in a shallow bowl and place the cinnamon and sugar in a shallow bowl as well (mix the cinnamon and sugar together).

Once the muffins have baked dip them (while still hot) in to the melted butter then into the cinnamon sugar to coat. Serve while warm for best result or reheat for later.

Chili

Yesterday I made a huge pot of chili in preparation for the group of friends about to descend upon my apartment. They are all coming down from the great white north (Michigan, where I and my partner are from) for New Years and I am so excited! However, they are all guys and they eat like pigs, hence the chili.

I love chili, it is probably my favorite food with meat in it. It is so spicy and complex, perfect for a cold day. I have been making chili forever and continually tweaking my process - I won't say recipe, since the closest thing I have to that is a list of spices I always put in to it. When I made chili yesterday, I thought about trying to write down the amounts of everything for this blog but in the end I just couldn't. It is one thing I am really not sure how to write a recipe for. It is the kind of food where you start with the base ingredients and then you just add shit in from there. Tasting along the way until its right.

So, I am going to give a partial recipe and let you explore the rest (i.e. the spices) until you find a combination you are happy with. That is pretty much what I do with everything I cook and I really encourage you to do it with any recipe of mine you try because everyone's tastes are different - you may discover you have a favorite spice that you like to see in your cooking that i don't use or something.

Chili
3 lb Lean Ground Beef
2 15 oz cans Kidney Beans
3 15 oz cans Diced Tomatoes
6 (or more) Jalapeno Peppers diced
3 Onions diced
1 tablespoon chopped Garlic
1 bottle Chili Sauce (should be in the isle with ketchup and such)
2 packets Chili seasoning (Consider going with the name brand for this as it usually has less filler)
1-2 teaspoons powdered Mustard (can use prepared mustard instead)
1-2 tablespoons Cumin
2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
Couple shakes of Tabasco Sauce
1-2 tablespoons Brown Sugar (it balances the spiciness)
All spice measurements are approximate
Put kidney beans, diced tomatoes and chili sauce in a large pot and put on medium heat. Meanwhile brown ground beef and add chili spice packets to it along with the chili powder, cumin, and mustard. While beef is browning chop up the onions and peppers. Once beef has browned add to the pot then saute the onions, peppers, and garlic until clear and browned; add to the pot. Put in brown sugar, tabasco sauce, and worcestershire sauce into the pot. Taste and modify to your liking. Continue cooking for at least an hour, preferably two or more as the cooking really enhances the flavors and makes a thick chili. FYI, if you decide not to use the spice packets you should add salt, but if you use the packets you don't need any salt as they have plenty.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Creamy Fruit Salad

This fruit salad recipe is a tried and true favorite, as I have been making it since I was a teen. This time I made it for a Christmas brunch at my friend's house and it went over really well. The brunch was tons of fun and we ended up staying all day playing cards and scrabble, all in all, a very satisfying Christmas day.

The salad is really simple to make, doesn't take a lot of time and you can make it in advance (since it chills overnight). All really nice features when one is preparing for the holidays! It is pretty flexible; this version is really a slightly modified doubling of the original recipe and it still came out fine. I would assume that you could substitute other types of fruit if you prefer, but I wouldn't recommend hard fruits like apples because it would be a weird texture - this salad is pretty soft. Also, if you don't like marshmallows you could probably substitute cooked white rice. (I think rice in these kinds of salads is gross but I know that lots of other people prefer it, so it is something to try.)

Enjoy this salad!

Creamy Fruit Salad
1 20 oz can Pinapple Tidbits
1 15 oz can Mandarin Orange Slices
1/4 cup Pineapple Juice (or water)
6 tablespoons Lemon Juice
2 tablespoons Water
2 (3 oz) packages cook and serve Vanilla Pudding
2 cups miniature Marshmallows
2 cups Whipped Topping
2 Bananas sliced
Drain pineapple and mandarin orange juices into a medium saucepan and add in the extra pineapple juice, water, and lemon juice. Stir pudding mix into the saucepan and heat (stirring constantly, as pudding has a tendency to get lumpy) on medium until mixture comes to a full boil. Pull off of heat and let sit until cooled. Once cooled mix in the pineapple, mandarin oranges, and marshmallows; then gently mix in the whipped topping. Chill overnight in a covered bowl. Fold in the sliced bananas right before serving (the bananas brown if you put them in the night before).

Serves about 10 people.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Apple Cream Coffee Cake

This is such a moist toothsome coffee cake! It is great for brunch or as a snack any time of the day. This is a really simple coffee cake to make, no yeast dough to worry about and it bakes in 40 minutes. I have had good luck substituting other fruits in the filling, this time around I used pears. You could also probably substitute yogurt (preferable greek since it is thicker) for the sour cream if you don't have any sour cream on hand. I have also left out the nuts when I didn't have any on hand and no one ever complains because the cake stands well on its own.

This will be my last post for a week or so because I am heading up to northern Florida to go on a camping/bike trip. We will be covering 327 miles on our bikes, touring the springs and camping in that area! I am excited.

Happy baking while I am away!

Apple Cream Coffee Cake
Topping
1/2 cup Pecans
1 tablespoon Ground Cinnamon
1/2 cup Sugar
Batter
1/2 cup Butter softened
1 cup Sugar
2 Egg
1 teaspoon Vanilla
2 cups Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 cup Sour Cream
2 Apples sliced thin
butter, eggs, and sugar
Combine toppings in a small bowl and set aside. In a large mixing bowl cream butter and sugar together, beating until light colored and fluffy. Add in eggs and beat until mixture has thickened a little (from the eggs) then add in the vanilla. Combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl and add to the creamed mixture alternately with the sour cream, mixing well after each addition. Spread half the batter into a greased 10 inch tube pan with a removable bottom. Sprinkle half of the topping onto the batter and top with all of the apple slices then put the rest of the batter evenly on top and sprinkle with the remaining topping. Bake at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes or until cake tests done when you stick a knife into it (knife should come out clean, with only a few crumbs not with uncooked batter).

About to go into the oven
Remove from the oven and let rest for about 30 minutes then remove from the pan and cool completely. Serve!

Soft and Chewy Caramels

These caramels are the best! I absolutely love them, they have the perfect texture and taste. I also like to make pecan turtles with some of the caramels, and those instructions are below the recipe for the caramels.


Soft and Chewy Caramels
2 cups Sugar
1 cup Light Corn Syrup
2 cups Half-and-Half Cream, divided
1 cup Butter
1 teaspoon Vanilla
Line a 13x9 inch pan with waxed paper and butter the paper (or use a glass pan and butter that), then set aside. Put sugar, corn syrup, and 1 cup cream into a large saucepan (5 qt.) and bring to a boil over medium heat while stirring constantly. Slowly stir in remaining cream. Continue cooking over medium heat, while stirring constantly, until candy reaches hard-ball stage (250 degrees) then remove from heat immediately. Stir butter and vanilla into sugar mixture until mixed completely together (takes a few minutes) then pour caramel into buttered pan. Cool and cut into small pieces. Wrap candy in small pieces of waxed paper if desired.

Pecan Turtles
at least 8 oz semi-sweet or milk chocolate
6 oz bag Pecan halves
To make turtles, put pecans in the bottom of the buttered pan and pour caramel over them. Once caramels are cooled and cut into pieces put the pieces on waxed paper and pour melted chocolate over them. Let the chocolate set for a few hours and then the turtles will be ready to serve.

Makes about 2 pounds of candy.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

English Toffee

Yummy, yummy toffee pieces
This toffee is so rich and buttery, exactly how toffee should be. I always make it around the holidays to give as a gift and for guests to snack on. Candy making during the holidays is a tradition for me, starting when I was a teenager and I would get together with a friend of mine to make different candies. I hope you enjoy making this, and the other candies I will be posting, as much as I have over the years.

A quick note on candy thermometers: I have never had the best of luck with them and prefer to check my candy the old fashioned way, by dropping it in water and observing what stage it is in. Usually I use a candy thermometer but I also check the candy the old way. To do this you should drop a little of the candy mixture into cold water and see what it feels and looks like when to you take it out of the water with your fingers. If it is at the hard crack stage it should form strings (or small blobs, it doesn't always form strings in my experience) when it gets into the water and it should be hard to the touch; Also, when you taste it it should be brittle and not stick to your teeth (i.e. it shouldn't be chewy at all). If you want to know how to tell the other stages you can search online, but any older cookbook should also have that information.

Enjoy your candy making!

English Toffee (From Taste of Home Magazine)
2 cups Butter and a little additional butter for the pan
2 cups Sugar
1 cup Pecans or Almonds (sliced or crushed)
3/4 cup Milk Chocolate Chips
toffee when it first started boiling
Butter a 15x10 inch pan and set aside. In a medium sized saucepan over medium-low heat bring butter and sugar to a boil while stirring constantly. Once mixture is boiling, cover and cook for 2-3 minutes. Uncover and begin stirring again until mixture reaches 300 degrees (hard-crack stage) and turns golden brown. When the toffee gets close to this point it will have cooked down a far amount and will resemble a very thick syrup and it will pull away from the sides of the pan.

Pour the mixture into the buttered 15x10 inch pan and spread out evenly. Sprinkle nuts immediately over the toffee and press in with you fingers then sprinkle the chocolate chips on top. Once chips have softened you may spread them around a bit if you wish.

Let toffee cool in the refrigerator for about 2 hours then break into pieces.

This recipe makes about 2 1/2 pounds of candy.

Soft Molasses Cookies

These cookies are just the greatest! They are soft and chewy and the spice is mild but warm. They are like biting into a cool fall day. Some people think they taste kind of like pumpkin pie because of the spice, I don't, but that has been a common reaction from people who have tried these. The other reaction is to go "yum!" XD

Happy holiday baking!

Soft Molasses Cookies (From Country Woman Magazine)
1 cup Butter softened
1 1/2 cups Sugar
1/2 cup Molasses
2 Eggs
4 cups Flour
1/2 teaspoon Salt
2 1/4 teaspoons Baking Soda
2 1/4 teaspoons Ground Ginger
2 teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon Ground Cloves


In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter, shortening and sugar until light-colored and fluffy. Beat in molasses and eggs; set mixture aside.

In another large bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda, ginger, cloves and cinnamon. Blend thoroughly with wire whisk.

Gradually mix flour mixture into creamed ingredients until dough is blended and smooth.

Roll dough into 1½ in. balls. Dip tops in granulated sugar; place 2½ in. apart on greased cookie sheet. Flatten slightly with a fork if you want larger cookies. 

Bake at 350° for 10 minutes. Do not overbake, I can't stress this point enough as these cookies are very easy to overbake. Even if they seem under done I would recommend taking them out of the oven, because they are supposed to be pretty soft and a little chewy.

Store in tightly covered container or freeze. (They freeze beautifully). 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

BBQ Chicken, Spinach, Tomato, and Onion Pizza

Pizza about to go into the oven
This pizza is hands down one of my favorite foods I have ever made. The crust is thin but not too crispy, and the wheat flour gives it extra substance. The toppings, bbq chicken, tomato, spinach, and onion are a wonderful change of pace from the toppings you usually get on a pizza and much healthier. This is a more time consuming cooking project to be sure, primarily because of the homemade crust, but it is worth every minute. Try it for yourself and see!

BBQ Chicken, Spinach, Tomato, and Onion Pizza
3 or so cups White Flour
½ cup Whole Wheat Flour
1 packet (1/4 oz) Active Yeast
1 teas. Sugar
1 cup 1% milk
1/3 cup water
½ teas. Salt
20 oz Shredded Cheese ( use a blend of skim and whole milk mozzarella and cheddar)
1 Onion sliced finely
2 Tomatoes sliced finely
2-3 BBQ chicken breasts shredded*
½ 8 oz. bag Spinach
1/2-3/4 jar Spicy Marinara Sauce

*To make BBQed chicken take chicken breasts, coat in BBQ sauce and bake for about 30-40 minutes. Shred warm chicken and save for later use as the pizza topping.

Crust dough before it has risen
Heat milk and water to about 120-130 degrees (should be warm to the touch but not uncomfortably warm) mix in sugar and sprinkle yeast on top to proof the yeast. Put about two cups of flour and the salt into a mixing bowl and pour in the yeast mixture. Mix together. Add in enough flour to make a manageable dough and then knead for about 6 minutes. Let rise in a warm non-drafty area for about 50 minutes or until doubled.

Meanwhile finely slice onion and tomato. Take out seeds from tomato slices and rinse with water to reduce the moisture content, then lay out on a paper towel to absorb any excess moisture. Clean spinach and pat dry.

Once the dough has risen punch down and shape (roll out or toss with your hands) dough into two crusts. I used a 15x10 inch pan and a 13x9 inch pan. Once dough is rolled out preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Spread a thin layer of spaghetti sauce onto the crust. Sprinkle with cheese and toppings. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until crust is lightly browned on the bottom and the cheese has melted. 

Wait about 5-10 minutes for pizza to cool before cutting. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sour Cream Blueberry Cherry Pie

Yummy, creamy pie!
Pie is without a doubt my favorite desert, so I don't make it very often because I could easily eat half of one as my entire dinner. :) However, I do occasionally like to have some sweets around the house and since I had company this week I thought it would be nice to have a pie for them (and me, I couldn't resist having a slice right after it came out of the oven). It has been a while since I made this particular pie, and I usually make it with just blueberries but I had a few cans of cherries on hand and figured they would go well together. I was correct in that surmise; the tart cherries go perfectly with the sweeter blueberries and the mild tangyness of the sour cream. This pie also goes together quickly and only takes 25 minutes to bake so you don't have to spend a lot of time in the kitchen if you are busy, which is nice, especially as the holiday season is upon us. 

Speaking of the holiday season, holy crap, I can't believe it is already December and less than a month till Christmas. I haven't even started on my Christmas presents yet. Yikes! I'm not too worried though because I am planning on making a candy and shipping it to most of my friends and family, which means you can look forward to my candy recipes for caramels, my grandmother's fudge, amaretto truffles, and possibly toffee. 

Happy Holidays everybody! 

Sour Cream Blueberry and Cherry Pie
1 cup Sour Cream
2 Tablespoons Flour
¾ cup Sugar
1 Egg
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 15 oz. can Blueberries drained
2 15 oz. can Tart Cherries drained
Prepared Pie Crust
Beat sour cream, flour, sugar, egg, salt, and vanilla for about 5 minutes on medium in a blender and then fold in the berries. Pour into crust (follow directions for making crust below) and bake at 400° for 25-30 minutes or until center is set (should just barely jiggle). Let cool for about 10 minutes before cutting.


Here is the trusty pie crust recipe I always use, it is the same one that I posted for the Savory Meat Galette recipe but this time I made a lattice crust top. I have instructions below for making the crust but if you want awesome step by step instructions on making a lattice pie crust top check out Annie's Eats post on how to make a lattice top pie crust. I love Annie's Eats, partly because she often has such amazing instructions accompanied by pictures. So if you feel like you would like more details on making the crust definitely check out her page.

Flaky Pie Crust Recipe (Taken from “The American’s Woman Cook Book” circa 1938)
Recipe makes enough for a top and bottom crust
1 ½ cups Flour
½ teaspoons Salt
½ cup Cold Butter (can use shortening or for extra flavor cold bacon grease)
4-5 tablespoons Ice Cold Water (can sometimes take more – add more as needed)
Put flour and salt into a bowl and cut in the butter with a pie cutter until the butter is in roughly pea sized shapes. Slowly add in water (you don’t want to add to much water or over mix the dough) mixing quickly with a fork until you can shape the dough with your hands and it mostly stays together. The dough will seem a little dry but if you shape it into a ball with your hands and it sticks than it is wet enough to roll out. On a lightly floured surface (i.e. your countertop) divide pie crust dough in half and roll out the first half of the crust to fit a 9 inch pie plate, put crust in 9 inch pie plate and set aside.

To make the lattice top of the crust, roll out second half of pie dough to roughly the same size as the other half and slice into 3/4 inch (size is approximate) strips. After you have put the filling into the pie plate lay down about 6 strips one way on top of the filling and then start weaving the other strips in and out to make a basket weave effect. After you are done trim the edges of the pie so that the crust doesn’t hang over the edge. Now your pie is ready to bake! (This crust typically bakes at 400°, but some recipes may call of a different temperature).


Note on the pie crust: Not mixing the dough too much is very important to a flaky pie crust because the little pellets of butter that aren’t completely mixed into the flour are what make the crust “flake” while baking – making it tender and yummy. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Curried Carrot Raisin Cuscus


I originally made this with chicken but realized it wasn't really necessary to have the extra protein for this meal to come out just fine. This is a great meal to throw together when you are short on time or tired, it only takes about 15 or 20 minutes to prep and 20 minutes to bake. Made it tonight since I was feeling under the weather and wanted something quick and wholesome on the table. 

This is not a spicy curry (provided you don't use a spicy curry powder), it is very much a savory dish with a pleasant sweetness from the coconut milk and raisins. As far a curry powders go, there a huge variety, especially if you go to an indian-american store that specializes in those products. Your basic curry spice that you get at an american grocery is going to be not spicy most likely, because it is marketed to please more sensitive palettes. If you can get to a store that sells a variety of curries and masala spices I would recommend it because there is a lot of variation in the spice composition of these spice blends. All curries are not the same! The curry powder I am using right now is called Madras curry powder and the brand name is Parivar. 
The Curry I use

Curried Carrot Raisin Cuscus
Cuscus
1/2-2/3 cup Raisins
1 box Cuscus
2 cups Chicken or vegetable broth
Boil raisins in broth and add Cuscus. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes as per package direction.
Other filling
1 15 oz can Chickpeas
4 carrots grated
1 onion chopped roughly
1 cup Coconut milk
1 1/2 teaspoon Ginger
4 teaspoons Curry
salt
pepper
Saute onion and carrots with a little olive oil and sprinkle spices on. Grease a 13x9 inch pan with olive oil and toss cuscus mixture, sautéed onions and carrots, chickpeas, and coconut milk together. Add in more spice to taste if necessary. Cook at 350 for 20 minutes or until heated through. Makes about 4-6 servings depending on how hungry people are.

BBQ Chicken and Roasted Veggie Pasta Salad

Chopped up roasted veggies - so good!

I made this last fall for a party and got the craving again last week. Also my partner's parents were coming to town so I thought it would be good to have some extra food in the fridge. This pasta salad is so yummy I have to stop myself from eating it until I get sick and it tasted even better this time around because I added in some cubed extra sharp cheddar cheese. The balsamic vinegar and bbq sauce contrasted perfectly with the sharpness of the cheese. 

Since I was going to be bbqing chicken anyway I made a few extra breasts so that I could use it as pizza topping later on for my super awesome bbq chicken and spinach pizza. (I just made that for the in-laws the day before yesterday so that recipe will be going up soon.)

Shredded BBQ Chicken
Also, I added the zucchini in because I had some extra lying around and it tasted just fine in the pasta salad, so I am guessing you could try any number of different vegetables roasted in this salad. Be creative and use what you have on hand!

BBQ Chicken and Roasted Veggie Pasta Salad
1 (1 lb.) box whole wheat Barilla Pasta
3 colored Bell Peppers quartered
2 Vidalia onions cut in large slices
2-3 Tomatoes quartered
1 Zucchini quartered
3-4 Chicken Breasts
BBQ Sauce (I prefer Famous Dave’s “Devil’s Spit” or “Rich and Sassy”)
1/4-1/2 cup Balsamic vinegar
Salt
Pepper
Olive Oil
Put chicken breasts in a 13X9 pan and salt and pepper to taste, then coat with bqq sauce and bake at 350 until juices run clear (about 30-45 minutes). Meanwhile clean tomatoes out so that only the flesh remains. Coat onions, peppers, zucchini, and tomatoes lightly with olive oil, pepper, and salt. Put veggies on a paper towel to drain off some of the oil if there is excess. Put all of the veggies onto a large baking sheet and roast at 425 for about 25 minutes or until desired doneness (vegetable skins should be browned in most places). While veggies are cooling, cook pasta according to package directions. Chop up veggies and chicken into bite sized pieces and toss with pasta. Add balsamic vinegar to taste. Serve warm or chilled. Serves about 6. 

Creamy Bacon Portabella Linguine

Mmmm bacon, haven't cooked with bacon in a quite a while but it was on sale last week and I decided to pick up a few pounds along with some mushrooms since the two combine so well. I whipped this dish up pretty quickly as it doesn't have many ingredients and can be made in one frying pan, which is always a plus. This came out really well, I particularly like the way the nutty whole wheat pasta complements the richness of the bacon and sour cream in the sauce. Also, cooking something with bacon means you can steal a few pieces on the side before you add it into the main dish and who can resist that?
Happy noshing! 

Creamy Bacon Portabella Linguine
16 oz. Portabella Mushrooms sliced
1 lb. Bacon
2 tablespoons Flour
1 cup (approx) Milk
1/3 cup Sour Cream
Salt
Pepper
½ lb. Whole Wheat Linguine cooked according to the package directions
Crispy bacon - yum!
Fry bacon on medium high heat until slightly crispy. Drain almost all grease out of the pan but keep enough in to cook the mushrooms. While mushrooms are cooking grind pepper over them to taste. Once mushrooms are softened and browned sprinkle flour on them and mix to coat. Slowly add in the milk and sour cream to the pan (on low heat) and stir until thickened. Add in the bacon and the linguine and stir until coated. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sweet and Savory Butternut Squash Linguine

I had never had butternut squash in pasta before, but I was browsing the great internet after I bought some butternut squash that was on sale and found a recipe on the New York Times website for a butternut squash pasta that inspired me to create my own.  

I love to pair spicy with sweet, as you may have noticed, and this pasta is no exception. I baked the squash with cayenne, cinnamon, and brown sugar for a little bit of a flavor twist and I have to say the results were outstanding. Also the tangy asiago cheese offsets the sweetness of the butternut squash just right. 

On a practical note if you roast the squash in advance this could be a pretty simple and quick meal to throw together. 

Enjoy!

Sweet and Savory Butternut Squash Linguine
1 Butternut Squash
½ lb. Whole Wheat Linguine (Ronzoni’s brand is the best I have tried so far)
2-3 tablespoons Brown Sugar divided
3/4 teas. Cayenne divided
1 teas. Cinnamon divided
½ teas. Nutmeg
1-2 tablespoons Butter
1 cup (approx) Chicken Broth (could easily use vegetable broth or white wine)
Asiago Cheese grated
Slice butternut squash in half and scoop out seeds. Brush is melted butter and sprinkle 1 tablespoon brown sugar, ¼ teaspoon cayenne, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, and nutmeg onto the butternut squash and bake at 350 for about an hour or until the squash is soft enough to mash up. Once the squash is done cooking scoop it out and mash it into a paste (this should be easily done with a spoon since it is already so soft) in a bowl then heat a 12 inch skillet on medium and add a tablespoon or so of butter to the skillet. Put the squash into the pan with the rest of the spices and sugar and add in chicken broth slowly to make a very thick sauce for the pasta (it should not be soupy at all, just loose enough to coat the pasta easily). Meanwhile cook pasta according to package directions and toss into the skillet with the butternut squash mixture. Grate asiago cheese over it and serve. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Savory Meat Galette

I have wanted to make a meat pie for years but for some reason never got around to doing it. Well a few weeks ago I finally did make one and it was just as awesome as I thought it would be. I've always seen meat pies made with steak but I opted for ground turkey because that is what I had in the freezer; I also decided to add a few more veggies into the mix, including green peas, which are pretty much my favorite go to vegetable. 

All of the recipes I looked at for inspiration showed this glorious food being baked in a pie plate but I thought it would look cool as a free form pie, a.k.a. galette - also, I didn't think the thing would fit into a standard 9" pie plate. I was a little nervous about making a galette because I wasn't sure if it would stick together or if the filling would spread out while cooking; happily the galette stayed exactly as I shaped it an looked really nifty, kind of rustic and homey. 

Galette before it is baked - isn't it cool!
Anyway, below is the recipe for the filling along with my standard pie crust that I have been making for years. This crust has never disappointed me. Although I have heard many people talk about how difficult it is to make pie crust, this recipe has always been kind to me and all the pies I have made with this crust have turned out perfectly, nice and tender and flaky - just the way I like it. 

Savory Meat Galette
6 oz Frozen Green Peas
16 oz Ground Turkey
5 Red Potatoes diced
1-2 Onions diced
4-5 Carrots chopped
1 ½ cups (approx) Chicken Broth
2 tablespoons Flour
Olive Oil
Salt
Fresh ground Pepper
Pie Crust (Recipe below)
Roast Potatoes, carrots, and onions in a 400° oven drizzled with olive oil, salt, and pepper for 20 minutes. Cook turkey in a frying pan until browned. Coat peas with flour and put into frying pan with the cooked turkey, continue to cook while adding in broth on low heat to make a gravy. The gravy should just coat everything in the pan with enough to still coat the roasted vegetables. Roll out pie crust until it is slightly thicker than it would normally be for a fruit pie. Put crust onto a large cookie sheet and pour meat and vegetable mixture in the middle, then shape the pie dough around the mixture to form a galette (a fancy name for a pie that is shaped free form). Bake at 375° for about 50 minutes or until crust is browned on the top and sides. Let cool for a few minutes before slicing open and enjoying.

Flaky Pie Crust Recipe (Taken from “The American’s Woman Cook Book” circa 1938)
1 ½ cups Flour
½ teaspoons Salt
½ cup Cold Butter (can use shortening or for extra flavor cold bacon grease)
4-5 tablespoons Ice Cold Water (can sometimes take more – add more as needed)
Put flour and salt into a bowl and cut in the butter with a pie cutter until the butter is in roughly pea sized shapes. Slowly add in water (you don’t want to add to much water or over mix the dough) mixing quickly with a fork until you can shape the dough with your hands and it mostly stays together. The dough will seem a little dry but if you shape it into a ball with your hands and it sticks than it is wet enough to roll out. Roll the dough out until it is less than a ¼ inch thick (the dough should be thick enough to handle whatever you put into it without tearing or breaking). Plain crust should be baked at 400°, but if it has a filling follow the temperature directions for that.

Note on the pie crust: Not mixing the dough too much is very important to a flaky pie crust because the little pellets of butter that aren’t completely mixed into the flour are what make the crust “flake” while baking – making it tender and yummy. 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Beans are Awesome

So, I would just like to write a quick interlude about beans. I make them all the time but I never seem to get a picture of them or the random recipes I make using them, hence putting off a post on beans, but I figure "what the hell," I will write about them anyway. I pretty much stick to making black beans because they go in almost anything (I think). I soak them all night because in my experience they still take a good 6 or more hours to cook completely, which means I have to be home or make them in a crock pot and I don't currently have a crock pot. Buying and cooking dried beans make sense to me because it is a lot cheaper and more efficient than canned beans. Anyway, while I am simmering the beans (never boil them too harshly because you end up having to add too much water, for no real reason) I usually add in a generous amount of chopped garlic as well as cumin, coriander, chili powder, salt, and pepper - also, sometimes a splash of olive oil. The last batch of bean I made I used coriander for the first time because I read this article in the Washington Post about how well coriander and cumin go together - the author was correct, together they add a wonderful savory flavor to foods.

Black Bean Soup
Once the black beans are done (they should be soft and the bean broth should be viscus), I usually made an assortment of casseroles and nacho like dishes with them. The casseroles are usually layers of beans and sautéed onions/peppers/garlic and sometimes tomatoes and/or corn layered with cheese and corn tortillas or chips, depending on what I have on hand. This time around I made a bean soup with carrots and turkey sausage that came out quite good and I served it with corn bread and sour cream. Here is a picture of it on the right.

Also, here is a basic recipe for the casserole I was talking about along with more info on how I make the beans.

Southwestern Black Bean and Rice Casserole
3 cups (approx) Seasoned Black Beans*
1-2 cups cooked rice (I used leftover rice from another meal)
1 Onion diced
½ lb. Turkey Sausage (optional)
1-2 teas. Coriander
Salt to taste
4 oz Habanera Cheddar Cheese grated
4 oz Pepper Jack Cheese grated
10-12 Corn Tortillas
Sauté diced onion and sausage in a frying pan on medium high until onion is browned and sausage is cooked through. Then add in the rice and coriander and sauté until rice has absorbed some flavor and has softened up (about 5 minutes). Mix rice mixture and beans together. Lay about 4 corn tortillas down into a lightly greased 13x9 inch pan and spoon on a layer of the bean and rice mixture and top with cheese. Repeat twice. Bake for about 20 minutes at 350°. Serve with salsa and sour cream if desired.

*I made a pot of seasoned black beans the day before to use for this. I soaked the beans overnight and then the next afternoon (when I got home from work) I drained them and started them cooking on medium heat. I put about 2 tablespoons of chopped garlic in them and about 2-3 teaspoons of cumin, a little cayenne pepper and salt and cooked them for about 4-8 hours until the beans were soft and there was a thick sauce from the beans cooking down. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Linguine with Roasted Asparagus in a Tomato Lemon Sauce

I've been getting over a cold for the past few days and haven't felt like doing much, but I am finally starting to feel better so I will be cooking yummy things again! I made this dish last week though, the idea of roasting asparagus and then adding it to pasta popped into my head at work and I decided I had to try it since asparagus was conveniently on sale at Publix (also, I love asparagus and will use any excuse to eat more of it). Lemon sets off the flavor of the asparagus nicely, so I decided to use some fresh lemons in the sauce. This came out really excellent, but it is quite sour so if you don't enjoy sour food that much use less lemon. I forgot to take a picture of this before I ate all of it but it is really pretty and colorful.

Enjoy!

Linguine with Roasted Asparagus in a Tomato Lemon Sauce
½ lb. Whole Wheat Linguine (Ronzoni’s brand is the best I have tried so far)
2 lb. Asparagus
4 Fresh Tomatoes
1-2 Lemons zested and juiced (depends on how sour you like your food)
1 tablespoon Sugar
1 tablespoon Flour
1-2 teas. Lemon Pepper seasoning
Salt to taste
Fresh Ground Pepper to taste
Olive Oil
Asiago Cheese grated
Snap the base of the asparagus off and discard it (so that you only use the tender part), then snap again in half so that the pieces aren’t too big when in the pasta. Place the asparagus onto a large cookie sheet and toss with lemon pepper seasoning, pepper, salt, and olive oil. Roast at 425 for about 20 minutes or until tender (make sure it doesn’t get too soft, the asparagus should still hold its shape). Then roast the whole tomatoes with a little olive oil and salt and pepper for about 25 minutes at the same temperature until the skin of the tomatoes starts to crack and turn brown. Cool tomatoes slightly then remove skin and place the skinned tomatoes in a bowl and mash up slightly (so you don’t end up with huge tomato pieces in the pasta). Mix flour in with the lemon juice to form a paste and heat a large skillet to medium or medium low heat and place some of the tomato juice (from the bowl of roasted tomatoes) into the skillet with the lemon paste. (Meanwhile cook pasta according to package directions.) Cook until the flour begins to thicken the sauce then add in the rest of the tomatoes and cook until slightly thickened. Add in asparagus as well as the lemon peel and sugar and cook some more until the sauce is thick enough to coat pasta and then toss in the pasta. Serve with grated asiago cheese on top. 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Bangalore Chicken Curry

I realize this kind of looks questionable but I assure you it tastes amazing
So I have finally found some part-time work, about three weeks ago actually, which is awesome but also means I don't have as much time to cook things. Luckily, today is one of my days off so I am free to cook to my heart's content. Currently there is a meat pie !!! in the oven, which I am far too excited about because I've never made one before and it looks so yummy! I will definitely post the recipe if it turns out to taste as good as I think it will.

Right now I want to share a chicken curry recipe that I modified from one of my favorite cookbooks, "Complete Indian Cooking." If you want a cookbook that will teach you all of the basic dishes in Indian cooking, accompanied by beautiful photos of every dish than this is the book for you. I seriously recommend it! I bought mine a few years ago because my boyfriend really loves Indian food and I wanted to learn how to make it; after using this cookbook for a couple of years I am now confident enough to try my hand at inventing Indian recipes on my own as well as making additions/alterations to existing recipes. All a sign of a good teaching tool.

Anyhow back to the recipe. This curry is so good. The coconut gives the curry such a rich finish. It is a perfect curry for someone who isn't really into spicy food because it is very mellow but still full of flavor. 

Enjoy making this!

Bangalore Chicken Curry

3 tabl. Olive Oil
2 Onions - Sliced
1-2 tabl. Minced Garlic
2 teas. Curry Powder
1 1/2 teas. Dhana Jeera (3/4 teas coriander and cumin)
3-4 Serrano Peppers (seeded and chopped fine)
2 lb (approx.) Chicken Breasts cut into large pieces
3/4 cup Chicken broth
1 1/4 cup Coconut Milk (unsweetened)
1 teas. Salt
Fry onions and peppers in oil over medium high heat for about 5 minutes then add in the garlic and other spices (including salt) and fry for another 5-10 minutes or so (until onions start to soften and caramelize). Put the chicken in the frying pan and turn to coat with the juices/spice mixture in the pan then add in the chicken broth and coconut milk. Continue to cook on low to medium heat, gently simmering the chicken in the sauce for about 30-40 minutes or until chicken is tender and the sauce has thickened. Serve over rice or with bread. 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Fresh Green Bean Tomato Curry


I was at the grocery store the other day and green beans, squash, and zucchini were all on sale. I took that as a sign that I should combine all of those delicious veggies into a dish and came up with this simple curry which you could serve as a side dish or as a meal if you made some rice or naan bread. I based this off of a tamatar aloo recipe I remembered making years ago that called for lemon juice because I thought that the citrus of the lemon would compliment the green beans. I was right, this turned out pleasantly spicy with a hint of citrus for an extra bite. 

This is also a vegan recipe so it is great to serve is you are trying out meatless cooking or if you have been vegan/vegetarian for a while. 

Enjoy cooking! 

Fresh Green Bean Tomato Curry
1 ½ -2 cups Fresh Green Beans
1 15 oz. can Diced Tomatoes
2 medium Zucchini diced
2-3 medium Summer Squash sliced
1 Onion cut into strips
2 tabl. Pav Bhaji Masala (spice blended for vegetables. You can substitute another curry/masala if you wish)
1 ½ teas. Turmeric
Pav Bhaji Masala - MDH
This is what the spice blend I used looked like
2-3 tabl. Lemon Juice
Salt to taste
Olive Oil
Saute the zucchini and squash together on high heat with some of the masala spice until they are just starting to brown and soften, then set aside (about 5-7 minutes). Saute onions and green beans together with the rest of the masala and the turmeric until onions start to turn transparent, then add in the tomatoes and the zucchini/squash with the lemon juice and continue cooking for another 5-10 minutes or until the vegetables are as soft as you would like them to be. Serve with bread or rice as an accompaniment. 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Szechuan Vegetarian Stir Fry

All the ingredients assembled
I made this stir fry for friends on Friday and everyone agreed it was awesome! :) It's a great way to get in lots of vegetables and still be full at the end of the meal since the fried rice helps to beef up the stir fry. This is pretty spicy but it also has some hints of sweetness; however, if you don't like hot food very much I wouldn't put in the Sriracha chili sauce. If you do like spice then you will love Sriracha chili sauce. This stuff is magical; even when my mouth is burning from it I still want more. It has this incredible garlic/chili flavor that I have never tasted in anything else.

Have fun cooking!


Szechuan Vegetarian Stir Fry
3 cups chopped Broccoli
1-2 cups Snow Peas
1 8 oz. container sliced Water Chestnuts
2 Carrots grated
½ chopped Purple Cabbage
1 ½ inch piece Ginger grated
1 tabl. minced Garlic
House of Tsang Szechuan sauce to taste (I used about a third of the bottle)
Sriracha chili sauce to taste
Fried rice
Oil
Fry garlic and ginger on medium high heat for about 2 minutes. Add in water chestnuts (with water) and broccoli and sauté for about 7 minutes while adding in seasoning. Add all other vegetables and cook until heated but veggies are still somewhat crispy (about 10 minutes). Serve over fried rice.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Roasted Vegetable and Italian Sausage Pasta Sauce

This sauce can be made in stages and assembled quickly later. I roasted the veggies the day before I made the sauce and then threw everything together into a pot later to simmer. This turned out really good, super flavorful and rich - I really liked the taste the roasting gave the veggies. 

I also posted a picture of what the vegetables looked like post roasting because until I started roasting veggies I had no idea how they should look and truthfully they look kind of strange, so yes this really is how they should look slightly shriveled and a little soft. 
Veggies after roasting

I think this meal would be yummy served with a nice red wine like a Pinot Noir. (I also recommend drinking said wine while putting this together ^_^). 


Roasted Vegetable and Italian Sausage Pasta Sauce
1 Bell Pepper
1 Onion
2 Tomatoes
2 Zucchini
16 oz. Italian Sausage
1 24 oz. Jar Tomato and Basil Pasta Sauce (I usually use Classico or Barilla brand)
1 15 oz. can Diced Tomatoes (The fire roasted ones by dole are good in this)
2 teas. Basil
1 ½ teas. Tarragon
1 teas. Oregano
3 Generous Squirts Sriracha Chili Sauce (also known as "rooster" sauce)
Olive Oil
Black Pepper
Salt
Whole Wheat Penne Pasta cooked according to package directions
Cut bell pepper, onion, tomatoes, and zucchini into large pieces to roast. Toss with olive oil, pepper, and salt and layer on a baking sheet. Roast at 430° for 20 minutes then check to see if the vegetables are starting to brown, roast for about another 10 minutes until vegetables start to brown/blacken and remove from oven. Let cool, dice up and set aside. Brown sausage in frying pan and put into a pot with the roasted vegetables, diced tomatoes, pasta sauce, and spices and cook on low for about an hour or until flavors have melded. Serve over pasta.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Squash, Zucchini, and Chicken Saute

I made this simple saute a few days ago. It is great as is but it can also be served over pasta or rice. If you do that I would recommend adding in a little white wine or broth so that there is some sauce to coat the pasta or rice. Tonight I am making a new roasted veggie and sausage pasta sauce. Will post once I see how it turns out!

Happy cooking!

Squash, Zucchini, and Chicken Sauté
2 Yellow Squash diced
2 Zucchini sliced
2 Bell Peppers diced
3-4 Chicken Breasts chopped
½ Onion diced
3 tabl. Garlic minced
2 teas. Basil
2 teas. Tarragon
½ teas. Cayenne Pepper
Salt
Pepper
Olive Oil
Sauté onions, garlic, and chicken until chicken is browned and cooked through. Add in bell peppers, zucchini, squash, and spices and sauté until squash and zucchini are soft. Serve over pasta if desired. 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Oatmeal Wheat Sandwich Rolls

Dough at the end of mixing

These tasty rolls are worth the time it takes to make a yeast dough. They have a sweet and nutty flavor that makes them perfect for sandwiches of any kind or just with some butter and honey. I found the recipe for these years ago and have modified it a little by adding whole wheat flour to make them a little healthier and more filling.

These rolls last for days without getting dried out and they freeze very well. Enjoy!

Oatmeal Wheat Sandwich Rolls
2 1/3 cup Water (divided)
1 cup uncooked Oatmeal (I wouldn't use instant)
3 tabl. Butter
2/3 cups Brown Sugar (not packed - you can cut down on the sugar if you want)
1 1/2 teas. Salt
1 teas. Sugar (to proof yeast
2 (1/4 oz each) packets Active Dry Yeast
1 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
4 - 4 1/2 cups White Flour

The finished product! Yum!
Put two cups of the water in a saucepan to boil and add in oatmeal and butter when it reaches the boiling point. Continue boiling for one minute. Meanwhile Heat 1/3 cup water to 120 - 130 degrees (hot enough to proof yeast but not so much as to kill it) and add in sugar; stir and sprinkle yeast over top. Set aside yeast mixture to proof (yeast will bubble and rise) for about 5 minutes. Pour Oatmeal mixture into a mixing bowl and add in brown sugar and salt. Let cool until it is cool enough to add the yeast mixture in without killing the yeast. Put in three cups of flour (whole and white flour) and mix thoroughly. Gradually add in more flour until the dough is smooth enough to handle (not too sticky) then knead the dough on a hard surface, sprinkling flour on as needed for about 6-8 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic (not sticky). Put dough in a greased mixing bowl turning dough once so that the top is greased and set in a warm non-drafty place to rise until doubled (about an hour). Once dough has doubled punch down and divide it into 24 balls. Shape balls up into little rounded disks and put on two 13x9 cookie sheets to rise again until rolls have doubled in size (about 45 minutes). Once rolls have doubled heat oven to 350 degrees and bake rolls for about 20-30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Mango Paneer Curry

Some of the fresh ingredients used
It looks odd close-up but it tastes so good!
Yesterday I had the pleasure of cooking for a group of people, as I had company for dinner and so I decided to make this curry. Normally I use chicken but I have been wanting to experiment with paneer (a type of cheese used in Indian cooking) and one of my guests was vegetarian so I went ahead and stopped by this adorable Indian Grocery and picked some up.

While I was there the lady running the store recommended a spice mix for the paneer curry that did not disappoint, it was spicy, a little sweet, and savory all at the same time and worked great paired with the mango and other ingredients. I absolutely love this meal! Have fun making this!

Mango Paneer Curry
14 oz. Paneer (fresh cheese) diced
1 Green Pepper diced fine
1 Red Pepper diced fine
1 Onion diced fine
3 Tomatoes diced fine
2-3 Mangoes diced fine
5 Thai or Serrano Peppers – seeded and finely chopped
1 15oz. can Coconut Milk
1 package (1.76 oz) Paneer Tika Mix (Rasoi Magic Brand is the one I used)*
2-4 tsp. Garam Masala powder
4-5 whole Cardamom
4-5 whole Cloves
Basmati Rice
Heat frying pan to medium high and brown paneer on both sides (you don't have to use oil to brown but I spritzed on the pan). Meanwhile chop up onions, mangoes, tomatoes, bell peppers, and Serrano peppers. Remove paneer from pan and put in onions, bell peppers, and Serrano peppers. Sauté until browned and sticking to bottom of skillet and then put in tomatoes and mangoes. Sauté for a while until tomatoes start to break down (about 10-15 minutes). Meanwhile mix together coconut milk and paneer tika mix and pour into skillet. Add in paneer and cook on low until the flavors are blended together. Serve over Basmati rice. 
This also tastes good with a sweet Riesling wine as an accompaniment.  
*This is what the packaging looks like: http://www.rasoimagic.com/paneer_tikka.html

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Fresh Tomato, Onion, and Mushroom Fettucini

The Fettucini ready to eat!
My basic ingredients assembled along with my glass of wine

On Friday's I like to have a real sit-down dinner with my boyfriend since he works evenings every day except for Friday, so I thought I would make this yummy vegetarian fettucini dish. I had him pick up some Chardonnay on the way home from work to even out the sauce; previously I used tomato sauce but I think the wine adds a more subtile finish to the dish and provides a good excuse to get my drink on. :) 

The other thing I love about this dish is that it uses both fresh and cheep ingredients, it probably cost about 7 bucks tops to make and if you needed to pinch pennies further you could substitute canned tomatoes and mushrooms for fresh. Also, this doesn't take too long to prepare, only about 45 minutes from start to finish, since it is basically all chopping up and dumping into one big skillet. 

Enjoy making this tasty meal!

Fresh Tomato, Onion, and Mushroom Fettucini
4 Tomatoes chopped
1 Onion chopped
2 or more cups baby portabella mushrooms chopped
1 cup White Wine (Chardonnay) 
2-3 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons brown sugar
½ box Fettucini pasta cooked according to package directions
Olive Oil
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
1 teas. Cayenne pepper (more if you like it spicy)
1 ½ teas. Basil
1 ½ teas. Tarragon
1 teas. Oregano
Sauté Onion in a large skillet in olive oil – when onion begins to caramelize sprinkle on brown sugar and add in mushrooms. Sauté for about 5 minutes then add tomatoes, garlic, and other spices. Cook about 15 minutes (or until tomatoes are soft but have not lost all shape). Add in wine – cook on low for about 5-10 more minutes or until flavors have mellowed. While in the last few minutes of cooking, boil pasta. Stir into sauce and serve. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sautéed Vegetable Pasta Sauce with Ground Turkey

Some of the fresh veggies I used 
I started messing around with creating a pasta sauce that was more veggie intensive a few months ago and came up with this. It is now one of my most favorite dishes. It is super healthy, delicious, and makes a large batch ideal for freezing. You could easily make this completely vegetarian by omitting the ground turkey and using more veggies. Also, if you don't have one of the vegetables listed you can substitute another that you think would go well in a pasta sauce. The last time I made this I had some extra portabella mushrooms lying around so I added them in along with everything else. 

Happy cooking!

Sautéed Vegetable Turkey Pasta Sauce
1 Zucchini sliced
1 Summer Squash sliced
1 Eggplant sliced and quartered and peeled*
1 Onion diced
2 Tomatoes diced (optional)
2 Red Bell Peppers diced
16 oz Ground Turkey
1 ½ - 2 Jars pre-made Tomato based pasta sauce (preferably low salt and sugar)**
3-4 Generous Squirts Sriracha Chili Sauce
1 ½ tbl. Tarragon
1 ½ tbl. Basil
2 teas. Oregano
Olive Oil
Salt to taste
Fresh Ground Pepper to taste
Whole Wheat Pasta cooked according to package directions

Put spices and pre-made pasta sauce into a large pot and begin to heat on low. Then brown onions and ground turkey and put it in the sauce. Roast eggplant at 450 for 20 minutes and add to sauce. Saute the zucchinin, squash, and red bell peppers together until they start to soften and brown/caramelize and then add them to the pot. Add diced tomatoes to the pot and put in Siriachi chili sauce until food reaches desired spiciness. Cook until tomatoes have softened or the sauces flavors has melded (about 30-60 minutes) and serve over whole wheat pasta.
** May substitute plain tomato sauce but if you do I recommend adding extra spices 
* You may substitute more zucchini or squash instead of using eggplant if you wish

Fudgy Frozen Brownies

I have been in a baking mood lately and was craving some chocolate so I decided to make these brownies. I have been baking these ever since I found the recipe when I was a teenager but I recently decided to revamp it by decreasing the eggs, using half brown sugar, and adding in sour cream. These taste even better with the alterations, if I do say so myself. As it happens my boyfriend isn't the brownie fan I am so the last time I made these I decided to freeze them. Of course after they were frozen I got a craving and decided to try them frozen because I was too impatient to wait for a brownie to thaw - I was in for a pleasant surprise, these brownies are even tastier frozen then they are while warm!

Enjoy!

Fudgy Frozen Brownies
2 Eggs
1 cup Brown Sugar (not packed)
1 cup Sugar
1 ½ teas. Vanilla
½ cup Butter melted
¼ cup Sour Cream
1 ½ cups Flour
¾ cup Baking Cocoa
1 ¼ teas. Salt
Beat eggs, sugar and vanilla thoroughly in a bowl. Add in melted butter and sour cream and mix together. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Pour into a greased 13x9 inch pan and bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until knife comes out slightly sticky when inserted into brownies. Freeze and enjoy!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Easy Roasted Vegetables

The vegetables before they went into the oven

These vegetables go with everything and I probably make them at least once a week. My boyfriend loves these veggies and will eat an entire tray of them if I allow it. This is such a simple and healthy recipe - two qualities in recipes that I always enjoy seeing paired up.

Easy Roasted Vegetables
2 Summer Squash thickly sliced
2-3 Zucchini thickly sliced
Lowry’s Seasoning
Cracked pepper
Olive oil
Toss summer squash and zucchini with olive oil and seasoning to taste. Lay vegetables out in a single layer on a large cookie sheet (10x15) and bake at 430 for 20 minutes turning once (or until slightly crispy and browned on edges). 

Sally Lunn Batter Bread


This bread is a no knead yeast bread so it is simple to make. It has an amazing delicate buttery taste and pairs well with almost anything. I found the recipe in a Taste of Home magazine years ago - I'm not sure what issue.

Sally Lunn Batter Bread
1 packet (1/4 oz) Active Dry Yeast
1/2 cup warm Water (110-115 degrees)
1 cup warm Milk (110-115 degrees)
1/2 cup Butter softened
1/4 cup Sugar
2 teas. Salt
3 Eggs
5 1/2 - 6 cups flour

In a glass measuring cup heat water and milk to 110-115 degrees (where it is warm to the touch) and mix in a teaspoon of sugar, then pour in yeast packet and wait about 5 minutes to proof the yeast (this means that the yeast mixture will start to rise and bubble a little and ensures that your yeast is still good). Once yeast is proofed pour into a mixing bowl with butter, remaining sugar, salt, and eggs. Then mix in approximately 3 cups of flour to make a batter and gradually add in the rest of the flour until you have a soft slightly sticky dough. Let rise covered in a warm place with no drafts until doubled, about an hour. Mix or punch dough down and put into a greased and floured tube pan (I just lifted the dough out of the mixing bowl with my hands and laid it in the tube pan). Let rise in pan for an hour, or until doubled. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for a few minutes then loosen edges with a knife and remove from pan to cool completely.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Chili Roasted Potatoes and Onion

Roasted potatoes and onions all hot and crispy
Mmmm. Just made my sweet and spicy roasted potatoes for dinner along with my boyfriend's mom's special cole slaw. These potatoes are so simple to make but are just delicious and go with pretty much anything. Since I was in a cooking mood I also made my tasty veggie heavy spaghetti sauce, but I will post that recipe later.
This dish before it was cooked - in case you were curious


Chili Roasted Potatoes and Onion
6 Red Potatoes chopped
2 Onions chopped
1-2 tabl. Chili Powder
Salt and Pepper to taste
1-2 tabl. Brown Sugar
Cayenne pepper to taste (if you want a little extra kick)
Olive oil
Toss potatoes and onions with spices, sugar, and olive oil and spread into a 15’x10’ pan. Roast for 30 minutes at 430° turning after 20 minutes in the oven. Let cool slightly and serve.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Sauteed Potatoes, Green Beans, and Onions

I made this delicious dish last week and my boyfriend liked it so much we made it again the next day; which if you know him is a huge deal because he absolutely hates to cook and will avoid it at all costs.

His usual idea of making a meal is to have a bowl of cereal but he said that this dish was so good he actually wanted to learn how to make it (with me guiding him along of course, I didn't want the kitchen to catch fire - that actually happened once).

The butter is what really gives this meal it's rich carmelly flavor so I wouldn't recommend substituting anything else for it.  

Sautéed Potatoes, Green Beans, and Onions
5-7 medium Red Potatoes cubed (don’t peel skins)
10 oz (approx) fresh Green Beans/Broccoli (could use frozen)
1-2 Onions chopped
4 tbs (approx) Butter (Can start with less but add more if it is not enough)
Pepper to taste
Salt to taste
Optional: 4 chicken breasts chopped
Microwave potatoes for about 5 minutes in a little bit of water to partially cook them. Put butter in a skillet on medium high heat and sauté onions and potatoes. Add in green beans or brocolli after potatoes and onions begin to caramelize and sprinkle with pepper and salt to taste throughout cooking. (I usually go pretty heavy on the pepper). Stir frequently but allow mixture to stick to the bottom of the pan somewhat so that everything caramelizes. Cook for about 20-30 minutes. 
Note: If you decide to use chicken cook chicken completely first and add when you put the brocolli or green beans in with the potatoes and onions.