Friday, October 21, 2011

Pumpkin Pizza

From: Rochelle

Last night, Austin's work had an iron chef competition. Of course I was ALL over that one! The secret ingredient: Pumpkin! Huzzah! My favorite! I was this close () to making my favorite double layer pumpkin cheesecake, but I am SO glad I didn't because two others made it to the competition. I decided to make Pumpkin Pizza and oh my goodness readers, it was delightful! The best part? We won! : ) Try it out to break up your regular pizza night. It reminded me of something you would see at California Pizza Kitchen.


Pumpkin Pizza
Adapted from About.com


Ingredients:
2 C
*Roasted Pumpkin, Cubed
1 T
Basil Pesto (If you don't have this, use 2 t basil + 1 t garlic powder)
1
Prepared Pizza Dough
3/4 C
Cheese of your Choice (I used cheddar, but Mozzarella or Colby jack would be good)
2 T
Cashews, salted, roasted, and crushed
3/4 C
White Cream Sauce (See Recipe Below)
1/4 C
Feta Cheese, Crumbled (Goat cheese would be yummy too!)
2 T
Parmesan Cheese, grated
Garnishes
Extra Chopped Cashews and Parmesan Cheese, and Parsley (dried or fresh)

Preparation:
  1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

  1. Gently toss roasted pumpkin with basil pesto to lightly coat evenly. Set aside.
*To roast Pumpkin, I cut a sugar pumpkin in half, scooped out the seed and placed, cut side down in a glass dish. I added 1/2" of water to the bottom and covered in plastic wrap. I then cooked in the microwave for about 15-20 minutes. After which I carefully removed the plastic wrap, drained the water, and turned cut side up and placed into a 500 degree oven until browned, about 10-15 minutes.

  1. Roll out pizza dough and spread evenly with a layer of white sauce and cheese. Add crushed cashews and cubes of pumpkin. Drizzle with white cream sauce.

  1. Scatter crumbled feta cheese and grated Parmesan evenly over the surface.

  1. Cook pizza for 7 to 10 minutes at 500 degrees Fahrenheit until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and cut into slices.

  1. Garnish with parsley, extra cashews and Parmesan cheese before serving.



White Sauce
3 T
 Butter or Smart Balance
1/4 C + 2 T
Flour
1 1/2-2 C
Milk
1/2 t
Garlic Powder
1 t
Italian Seasoning (or basil/Oregano mix)
Dash
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1/3 C
Cheese of our Choice (Parmesan, Cheddar, or Colby Jack work well

Preparation:
  1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan and add in flour, stirring until thick and pasty.

  1. Slowly add milk, whisking together constantly to avoid lumps. Add garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper and simmer for 3-4 minutes, or until thickened.

  1. Stir in grated cheese until welted. Sauce will thicken further as it cools, so add in a bit more milk if needed.

This recipe makes more than enough white sauce for one large pizza.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Healthy Pumpkin Banana Muffins

From: Rochelle

These are GREAT muffins because they have pumpkin, banana, oats, AND applesauce in them, in addition to having whole-wheat flour! Talk about a power-packed breakfast! So yummy warm OR cold!


Healthy Pumpkin Banana Muffins


1 1/2 C All-Purpose Flour
2 C Whole-Wheat Flour
1 1/4 C Rolled Oats
4 t Baking Powder
2 t Baking Soda
1/2 t Salt
4 t Cinnamon
2 t Ground Ginger
1 t Nutmeg
1 t Pumpkin Pie Spice
3 Ripe Bananas, Mashed
1 C Applesauce
1 (15 oz) can Pumpkin
4 Eggs, lightly beaten
1 C Sugar
1 C Brown Sugar
1 C Walnuts, toasted & chopped (Optional)


Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Grease or line muffin tins with paper liners
3. Combine flours, oats, baking powder, spices, baking soda, and salt and wisk together until mixed well.
4. Combine wet ingredients and sugars in another bowl and beat until smooth, Gradually add in flour mixture. Beat just until combined.
5. Spoon into prepared pans or tins (fill cups until just about full).
6. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the muffin comes out clean.
7. Remove muffins from pan and cool on wire rack as soon as they come out of the oven.

Pumpkin Spice Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

From: Rochelle

I LOVE fall because that means pumpkin is everywhere! I LOVE pumpkin probably as much as I love chocolate. . . . no joke. Pumpkin shakes, pumpkin frozen yogurt, pumpkin anything! When I saw this post on pintrest I KNEW I HAD to make it! Oh baby was it worth it! If you are craving some pumpkin. . . THIS is what you need to make!



Pumpkin Spice Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting


Cake:
4 Eggs
1 2/3 C Sugar
1 C Canola Oil
1 (15 oz) can Pumpkin
2 C All-Purpose Flour, Sifted
2 t Baking Powder
2 t Ground Cinnamon
1 t Salt
1 t Baking Soda

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 (8oz) pkg Fat-Free Cream Cheese, Softened
1/2 C Butter (or Smart Balance)
2 C Sifted Powdered Sugar
1 t Vanilla Extract
2 t Ground Cinnamon

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Using an electric mixer at medium speed, combine the eggs, sugar, and oil, and pumpkin until light and fluffy.
3. In a separate bowl, mix together the flower, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda.
4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix at a low speed until throughly combined and the batter is smooth.
5. Spread the batter into a greased 13x9 inch baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting. Cut into bars and enjoy!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Calzones


Calzones
by Pam

Pizza Dough
(makes four 8" rounds)

1 TB instant yeast (SAF is my favorite brand)
1 tsp honey
2 TB oil
1 C warm water
1 tsp salt
1 T. minced rosemary, optional
2 1/2 C. Whole Wheat Flour (hard white wheat is best)

Dissolve yeast in the warm water. My favorite herb to add to the dough is rosemary. Stir in remaining ingredients and beat vigorously about 50 strokes, until all is combined. Cover with plastic and let it rest 5 minutes while you prepare the toppings. Parmesan cheese is way less fat than other cheeses and much stronger flavor.

Form dough into 4 rounds. Fill one side with steamed veggies such as carrots, onions, sweet bell peppers, olives. We like turkey pepperoni or sausage. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Fold unfilled side over filling and crimp edge. Bake at 400 degrees F for about 15-20 mins. Top with warmed pizza sauce and enjoy. These freeze great.

Shepherd's Pie


Shepherd's Pie
by Pam



6 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 tablespoon butter
1 finely chopped onion
2 cups chopped celery
1 red pepper, chopped
2 cups peas
salt and pepper to taste
8-10 carrots, chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound lean ground beef
1 teaspoon crushed fennel, optional
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon worstershire sauce
1 1/2 cups beef broth or Bragg's Amino Liquid
Directions

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain and mash. Season with salt and pepper to taste; set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add carrots and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain, mash and set aside. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
In a large frying pan add onion and red pepper and cook until clear. Add ground beef, fennel and cook until well browned. Pour off excess fat, then stir in flour and cook 1 minute. Add ketchup and beef broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Spread the ground beef in an even layer on the bottom of a 9 x 13 casserole dish. Next, spread a layer of mashed carrots, then peas and top with the mashed potato mixture and sprinkle with paprika.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Tomatilla Salsa


Tomatillo Salsa
from Pam

Last month I entered a salsa contest at my favorite garden nursery in town, The Backyard. Guess what?! I came in 2nd place! Hope you enjoy this salsa. It's great on burritos, etc. I like to bake plain corn tortillas dipped in salt water and baked for 30 mins. at 300 degrees.

1 pound tomatillos, husked
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 serrano chile pepper, minced
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
1 cup water
Directions

Place tomatillos, onion, garlic, and chile pepper into a saucepan. Season with cilantro, oregano, cumin, and salt; pour in water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until the tomatillos are soft, 10 to 15 minutes.
Using a blender, carefully puree the tomatillos and water in batches until smooth.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

From: Rochelle

This has been a family favorite for YEARS! We got this recipe from my Aunt Shirl and her girls. If you have zucchini growing in your garden and are trying to figure out what to do with it, here is an option! My mom would add chocolate chips to this bread to make it even more chocolaty. : ) This so SUPER yummy with cream-cheese spread on top.



Shirl's Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Makes 2 loaves. 

3
Eggs
1 C
Brown Sugar
1 C
Sugar
1 C
Oil
7 T
Cocoa
2 T
Butter
1 t
Vanilla
2 C
Zucchini-Grated
3 C
Flour
1 t
Salt
1 t
Soda
1 t
Baking Powder
1/4 t
Cinnamon
1 C
Almonds (Optional)


Mix together ingredients with an electric hand-held mixer. Pour into 2 greased loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hr (Mine we actually done at 40 mins.. . . so you might need to adjust the time according to your oven). 

Fall Colors Salad

From: Rochelle

I LOVED the colors in this salad. I know when something has this much color, it has GOT to be good for me! Austin and I had a little debate on whether we liked this one hot or cold, so you might need to decide that one for yourself. I think it tasted best fresh and semi-warm, right after I cooked the squash and mixed it with everything else. The dressing adds I nice complement of tastes to all of the vegetables.





Fall Colors Salad

2 C
Roasted Banana Squash, Cubed
1/2 C
Red Bell Pepper- Cubed
1 Can
Corn-drained
1 Can
Black Beans- drained

Carefully combine in a medium sized bowl.

Dressing:
Adapted from Oh She Glows- Long Weekend Grilled Salad
3 T
Olive Oil
1/4 C
Fresh Lime or Lemon Juice
2 T
Balsamic Vinegar
2 Cloves
Garlic- Minced
2 T
Cilantro
1 t
Agave nectar
1 t
Dijon Mustard

Salt & Pepper to Taste

Place all ingredients in a small jar and shake to mix. Pour over salad and mix to coat. Can be served hot or cold. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies


Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

This recipe was created one night when a craving for chocolate hit. Had to be a bit healthy though, so here ya' go! Enjoy! Pam

1 cup whole wheat flour
4 T. cocoa
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. cinnamon
1/2 cup butter or white bean puree
1/3 - 1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 - 1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
1 1/4 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup chopped craisins (sub for choc. chips)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In small bowl mix flour, cocoa, baking powder, soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside
In large bowl combine the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Add dry ingredients.
Drop by tablespoons onto greased or lined cookie sheets and bake 8-10 mins.
Cool on baking sheet 5 mins. and then onto a cooling rack.

French White Beans


French White Beans

These beans have a more refined taste. Subtle with a wonderful touch of fresh rosemary and basil. We ate it as a thick soup then later in the week we pureed them to use as hummus.

4 cups uncooked white beans (or use canned beans & skip steps 1 & 2, adding the 3 ingredients in step 2)

1. Bring beans to boil in plenty of water, about 12 cups. Boil for only 3 mins., then set aside with lid on for at least 2 1/2 hrs. After soaking, rinse, rinse, rinse the beans in cool water and and rinse and scrub the pot. This method reduces hard-to-digest complex sugars by 80%. This is called a power soak. Overnight soaking methods don't remove the complex sugars as well as this short method.

2. Fill pot with fresh water about 3 inches above the beans, add the following ingredients, bring to a boil for 15 mins., then reduce to medium-low, and cover. Simmer gently until the water is absorbed and the beans are tender, 2 1/2 - 3 hrs. Don't boil beans furiously: they will burst their jackets and become mushy. Stir often. Make sure the water hasn't evaporated.
*If using a pressure cooker, cook on second red ring for 12 mins. and use natural release to cool down.

1 onion
3 bay leaves
optional:2 cloves garlic

3. When the beans are 30-45 mins. from being done, add the following:

2 tablespoons freshly minced rosemary (if you don't have any, hunt your neighborhood - someone will have a bush!)
2 tablespoons freshly chopped basil

4. When beans are thoroughly cooked (a bean is done when you can mash it with a fork), add:

2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice

5. Serve with any of the following:
a dollop of plain yoghurt
parmesan cheese
balsamic vinegar
freshly ground pepper
fresh parsley, basil, cilantro or rosemary




Szechwan Stir Fry


Szechwan Stir Fry

This was a new recipe for us tonight. It tasted very authentic and the spice combination was very different and delicious. Also a great way to eat tons of veggies! Enjoy! Pam
Yield 4 servings

2 hamburger patties
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 T. soy sauce or Bragg's Amino liquid
3 T. Bragg's Amino Liquid
1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder (recipe below)
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 cup sliced fresh carrots
1 medium green or red pepper, julienned
1 cup sliced celery
2 cups chopped red cabbage
1 cup chopped onions
6 cups torn fresh spinach
Hot cooked rice

Chinese 5 Spice Powder Recipe
Ingredients:

1 tsp. ground Szechwan pepper
1 tsp. ground star anise or plain anise
1-1/4 tsp. ground fennel seeds
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground white pepper

Directions

Cook meat in 3 T. soy sauce or Bragg's liquid. Remove from pan.
In 1 T. oil, stir fry vegetables until crisp-tender.
In a bowl, combine the cornstarch, bouillon, five-spice powder and water until smooth; set aside. .
Add mixture to vegetables and cook and stir for 2 minutes. Add spinach and beef; cook and stir until spinach is wilted and beef is heated through. Serve over rice if desired.

German Red Cabbage


This recipe came from a dear old German friend - Hilda Scheffler. The tastes are so vivid, it satisfies the adventurous appetite! Enjoy! Pam

German Red Cabbage
(great as a side dish or tossed into salads)

1 medium head red cabbage, cored and sliced
2 large tart apples, peeled and sliced
1 medium sweet onion, sliced and separated into rings
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon salt
6 whole peppercorns
2 whole allspice
2 whole cloves
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons cold water
Directions

In a large pot, toss cabbage, apples and onion. Add water, vinegar, sugar, butter and salt. Place the peppercorns, allspice, cloves and bay leaf on a double thickness of cheesecloth (or in a square of nylon); bring up corners of cloth and stir with kitchen string to form a bag. Add to pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1-1/4 hours.
Discard spice bag. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and cold water until smooth; stir in cabbage mixture. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened.



Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Honey Mustard Chicken and Cheesy Cauliflower Gratin

From: Rochelle

I mentioned on my personal blog that this meal would probably put my foods teachers off because it does not meet the "color appeal" aspect of making meals look "pretty". BUT, it was what sounded good, and it was delish, SO . . I had to share. : ) This made a perfect Sunday dinner.



Honey-Mustard Crock-pot Chicken


3-5 Chicken breasts
1 C Honey Dijon Mustard Dressing (I made my own but you can buy it : )
1 Can Cream of Chicken Soup
1/2 C Water

Mix together the Honey Dijon Mustard Dressing, Cream of chicken soup, and water in a small bowl. Place the chicken breasts in the crock-pot and pour the mixture over the chicken. Cook on high for 6 hours.

*We served ours with cooked barley. I just threw it in my rice cooker and it turned out great. 2 parts water to 1 part barley. I also added some chicken broth to the water so it added a nice flavor.



Cheesy Cauliflower Gratin
Adapted from a william-sanoma cooking class

1 head of cauliflower (about 3 lbs.) chopped into small pieces and cored
Olive Oil
Kosher Salt and Pepper
2 Tbs. Smart Balance (Butter)
2 Tbs. Flour
1 C Warm Milk (I used soy milk mixed with 1 t cornstarch)
1 C Shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/8 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1/8 tsp grated nutmeg
Breadcrumbs (Optional)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Lay out the cauliflower pieces on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast the cauliflower for about 10-15 min, stirring every 5 minutes until it is crisp-tender and starting to brown on the edges.

While the cauliflower is cooking, start on the sauce. In a saucepan, over low het, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and stir constantly until it makes a paste. Cook for about 2 minutes. Slowly add the milk while whisking to help it absorb. If you pour in the milk too fast your sauce will be clumpy. Simmer until the mixture thickens, about 2 mins. Add the cayenne pepper and nutmeg and season with salt. Then add the cheese and stir until it is a smooth sauce.

Take the cauliflower from the oven and put it in a greased 2-quart casserole dish. Pour the cheese sauce over the cauliflower and coat. Sprinkle an even coat of breadcrumbs on top (optional). Bake until it is bubbly and the top is browned, about 20 min. Let cool about 5 min before serving.

Serves about 6.

*This recipe was Austin's favorite! He wanted more of this than of the chicken!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Pull-Apart Herb Rolls

From: Rochelle

If you haven't noticed, we are kind of obsessed with whole-wheat bread items over here. I usually make a home-made bread item to accompany our Sunday dinners. This last Sunday was my Dad's Birthday Dinner so we had to make something EXTRA special. These look fancy, taste wonderful, and are SO fun to make! Plus I LOVE pulling apart each layer as you eat them.  


Pull-Apart Herb Rolls
Adapted from: Petite Kitchenesse


Rolls:

  • 3 cups of flour (I used half whole-wheat and half all-purpose flour)
  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 1 packet of instant yeast (2¼ tsp.)
  • cup of sugar
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
Filling:
  • 1 1/2 T Kosher Salt
  • 2 T Oregano
  • 1-2 T Garlic Powder (to taste- I like mine STRONG!)
  • 2 T Melted Butter

*Can also add different herbs, cheese, or use roasted garlic cloves instead



    1. Combine warm water, sugar, and yeast in an electric mixer with the dough hook. . Add butter and salt to the yeast mixture, then sift in flour 1 cup at a time, until dough forms.  Knead for 8–10 minutes, until dough is smooth. Place dough in an oiled bowl, cover with saran wrap or a damp towel, and set in a warm area for about an hour, or until doubled. (I place in a slightly warm oven.)

    2. Punch down dough and turn out on a well-floured surface. Knead a few times, and then let it rest for 5 minutes. In the meantime, mix Oregano (or herb of your choice)  garlic powder, and salt and melt the butter. Roll dough out into a large rectangle, somewhere between ¼ and ⅛ of an inch thick. Brush butter over the entire surface of the dough, then cover evenly with the filling.


    3. Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, slice the dough into squares. Use your best judgment for size, depending on the type of pan you are using. Stack slices and place the stacks in a greased muffin tin. I made my stacks about 6-7 squares high.  Cover and let rise for another 40 minutes.
    4. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake for about 15-18 minutes. Take out from the oven and let cool in the pan for about 20-30 minutes. Serve warm.
    Makes 12 rolls. 

    Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies

    From: Rochelle

    I brought these to a church BBQ and we left empty handed. Two of my favorite treats smashed into a double-layer brownie that is HEAVEN! Don't worry, the cookie dough layer has no raw eggs, so you can eat as much as you want with no worries! I will be making this one again!


    Chocolate-Chip Cookie Dough Brownies
    Adapted from: Brown Eyed Baker

    Brownie Layer:
    Not going to lie, I just used my favorite store-bought Brownie mix. Allison's Pantry Fudgy Brownie Mix is my favorite! Someone gave the mix to us for our wedding and I am in LOVE!

    Cookie Dough:
    3/4 C   Smart Balance Butter
    1/2 C   Light Brown Sugar
    1/2 C   Granulated Sugar (Might need to add more to taste)
    3 T    Milk (We used Soy Milk)
    1 1/2 t Vanilla Extract
    1 1/2 C All-Purpose Flour
    1 1/2 C Mini Chocolate Chips


    Directions:
    1. Prepare and bake the brownies as directed on the container. Pour into a 9x13 inch pan lined with foil and greased. Let cool completely. (If you don't let them cool, the brownies get crushed by the cookie dough.)

    2. While the brownies are cooling, make the cookie dough! In an electric mixer cream the butter and sugars. Add the milk and vanilla. Add just enough flour until it is all combined. Then, using a rubber spatula, fold in the chocolate chips. 



    3. Spread the cookie dough over the cooled brownies. Optional: drizzle chocolate sauce on top of the cookie dough. Refrigerate until the dough is firm (about an hour). Use a sharp knife and cut the brownies. Store them in an airtight container and keep cool. Eat and escape to heaven! 

    Home-Made Graham Crackers

    From: Rochelle

    We went camping last week. No camping trip is complete without SMORES! I had the time, so I wanted to try and make home-made graham crackers. First off, do you know why it is called a Graham cracker? Because it is made from coarsely ground whole-wheat flour that a man produced. His last name? Graham. Minus the sugar, Graham crackers do have whole-wheat, making them a healthy treat for any camping trip! Be forewarned . . the process does take awhile because the freezing steps are SO important for a good product. BUT, the good news, that means you can sit down and enjoy a book while they freeze! ; )


    Home-Made Graham Crackers
    Adapted from Smitten Kitchen. 


    Recipe made about 30 2x2 inch squares (I did squares for smores, but you could make rectangles.)

    1 1/2 C All Purpose Flour
    1 C Whole-Wheat Flour
    1/2 C  Brown Sugar
    1/2 C White Sugar
    2 T Molasses (If you don't have this, just do 1 C Brown sugar instead of the 1/2 brown, 1/2 white)
    1 t    Baking Soda
    3/4 t Sea Salt
    7 T Butter, cut into cubes and frozen
    1/3 C Honey
    5 T Milk (I used Soy milk)
    2 T Vanilla

    Topping:
    3 T Raw Sugar (it is a coarser sugar)
    1 t Ground Cinnamon

    1. To make the dough, mix the flours, sugars, molasses, baking soda, salt and butter in a mixer of food processor. Mix until it is the consistency of a course meal. (Can blend with your hands if you want).

    2. In a bowl, combine honey, milk, and vanilla extract. Add to the flour mixture and gradually blend together until the dough barley starts sticking together. The dough is VERY soft and sticky. Don't worry!

    3. Lightly dust a piece of plastic wrap with flour, and make the dough into a square about 1 inch thick. Wrap it and freeze it until it is firm. That takes about 2 hours. You could do all of this the day before and freeze overnight if you want.

    4. You can prepare the topping and have it ready to go. Mix the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl until it is well blended. Set Aside.

    5. Get the dough out of the freezer, divide in half, and return one half to the freezer. On a floured work surface, roll out the dough into a long rectangle about 1/8 inch thick. Flour as needed. Trim the rectangle so you have 2" x length strips. Then cut those strips into 2 " x 2" squares. Place the squares on parchment-lined baking sheets and sprinkle with the topping, pressing it down lightly. Chill until it is firm, about 15-20 mins. in the freezer. Do the same thing with the 2nd block of dough. Gather scraps as you go, put into a ball, and re-freeze until firm.

    6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. I made little dents in my crackers with the round bottom of a kitchen utensil, but you can decorate as you wish. Bake crackers for 15-25 mins. until they are turning brown around the edges and are slightly firm. After 15 mins. check them often for doneness.

    Enjoy! They are fab! Future Project: Home-Made Marshmallows . . . I think I have got to try it!




    Monday, July 18, 2011

    Ranch Popcorn & Vanilla Popcorn

    From: Rochelle

    Last night we had some friends over for games. I made two kinds of popcorn and both were a hit! I really liked the Ranch Popcorn. I also made Vanilla Popcorn and I have included the recipe on the bottom but I forgot to take a picture. The nice thing about popcorn is it is a whole grain, filling, and a nice snack when you have the munchies!







    Ranch Popcorn

    1/4 t Onion Powder
    1/4 t Garlic Powder
    1/4 t Dried Dill
    1/2 t Chives
    1/8 t Salt
    1/8 t Ground Black Pepper
    1-2 T Olive Oil
    1/2 C of Popcorn Kernels- air popped


    *If you feel like you need more flavor in your popcorn (like I wanted), just add a little bit more of each herb, and perhaps more salt. If you add more olive oil too, it makes it coat further.

    Directions:
    In a small bowl combine everything but the popped popcorn. Mix thoroughly. Drizzle over popped popcorn. Using two spoons, toss the popcorn until evenly coated. 


    Vanilla Popcorn

    1/2 C Popcorn Kernels- popped (Can use more popcorn if you don't want it AS coated. It would taste just fine.)
    1/2 C White Sugar
    1/2 C Smart Balance Butter
    2 T Corn Syrup
    1/4 t Baking Soda
    1 t Vanilla 
    *Chopped nuts--optional 

    In a sauce pan, combine sugar, butter, corn syrup, and baking soda and boil for about 2 minutes on medium heat--stirring frequently. Stir in the vanilla and pour the hot liquid over the popped popcorn. Using two spoons, toss the popcorn until evenly coated. If you want nuts, add them at this point. Serve! 

    Chicken Spinach Alfredo Pizza

    From: Rochelle

    I already have posted on here a Chicken Alfredo Pizza, but I made this version and I had to share! I finely chopped up some spinach in my food processor and mixed it in with my alfredo sauce. Added some extra nutrients without anyone knowing. ; ) I also added turkey bacon on it which tasted heavenly! Just two modifications that really bumped up the YUMMY factor on this favorite!


    Chicken Spinach Alfredo Pizza


    Pizza Crust:
    1 C All-Purpose Flour
    2 C Whole-Wheat Flour
    1 T Instant Yeast
    1/2 tsp Salt
    2 T Olive Oil
    1 C (+ maybe 1/4 C if it is too dry) Warm Water

    Mix ingredients together until well combined. You might have to add a little bit of water until it is a good moist dough. Add water 1-2 tablespoons at a time. Knead on a lightly floured surface for about 5-6 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes. Roll out dough into the size of pizza you would like. Flour the top of the dough and fold in quarters. Transfer to a greased pizza pan and carefully unfold. Let rise in a warm oven for about 10 minutes (or until desired thickness). Bake the crust at 400 degrees for about 7 minutes. Take out from the oven, put on the sauce and toppings, and then put back in the oven for about 7-10 minutes. Let cool , cut and eat!

    *Tip: If you don't have a pizza cutter, try using clean scissors to cut your pizza. It works BEAUTIFULLY!*

    Toppings:
    1/2 Jar Ragu Alfredo Sauce +1 large handful of spinach finally chopped- mix together
    1 Chicken breast cooked and chopped to bite-sized pieces*
    4 slices of turkey bacon cooked until crispy
    1/2 Onion- sliced - (I sauteed them in the same pan as the bacon ; )
    Your choice of cheese, grated for on top

    *I baked mine in the oven with olive oil drizzled over it, salt, pepper, a little bit of poultry seasoning, and oregano at 400 degrees for about 1 hour covered with tin foil and it tasted wonderful!

    Tuesday, July 5, 2011

    Cinnamon Banana Whole-Wheat Crepes

    From: Rochelle

    For the Forth of July, I wanted to make a special breakfast. Cinnamon Banana Crepes with strawberries sounded perfect for a light breakfast before a heavy BBQ filled day! These are so quick to make because you blend everything in your blender, and then they pour easily into your pan BEAUTIFULLY! And, they are whole-wheat- BONUS!



    Cinnamon Banana Whole-Wheat Crepes

    Yield: Approximately 10-12 crepes, depending on size.

    Ingredients
    2
    Large Eggs
    3/4 C
    Milk
    1/2 C
    Water
    1 C
    Whole-Wheat Flour
    3 T
    Melted Butter
    1
    Ripe Banana
    1 tsp
    Cinnamon

    Extra Butter to coat the pan


    Directions
    1. In a blender, combine all of the ingredients and pulse for 10 seconds. Alton Brown says to place the crepe batter in the refrigerator for 1 hour. This allows the bubbles to subside so the crepes will be less likely to tear during cooking. The batter will keep for up to 48 hours.I will be honest, I did not do this. . . I just cooked them right away and had no problems. 

    2. Heat a small non-stick pan. Add butter to coat-very importaint! I used Smart Balance. Pour 1 ounce of batter into the center of the pan and swirl to spread evenly.(I put the lid on the pan so it cooks it quicker.) Cook for 30 seconds and flip. Cook for another 10 seconds and remove to the cutting board. Lay them out flat so they can cool. Continue until all batter is gone. I think the banana and whole-wheat in these makes them a little thicker than normal crepes, but they are SO yummy!

    3. After they have cooled you can stack them and store in sealable plastic bags in the refrigerator for several days or in the freezer for up to two months. When using frozen crepes, thaw on a rack before gently peeling apart.


    *Savory Variation:  Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs, spinach or sun-dried tomatoes to the egg mixture.

    *Sweet Variation: Add 21/2 tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons of your favorite liqueur to the egg mixture.

    Easy Breadsticks

    From: Rochelle

    I LOVE breadsticks. Olive Garden breadsticks are my biggest weakness-- yikes! These breadsticks are made with whole-wheat which makes them healthy and they are done in less than 30 mins! Enjoy!





    Easy Breadsticks

    1 C
    Warm Water
    3 T
    Brown Sugar
    1 t
    Salt
    1/4 C
    Oil
    3 C
    Whole-Wheat Flour
    2 1/2 t
    Yeast

    1. Mix all the ingredients together to form a dough. Knead thoroughly to fully mix the ingredients.
    2. Roll out on a floured surface and knead a few more times. Shape into a square. Roll out into a rectangle. If you roll it thinner, you will have crispier breadsticks. I like mine nice and soft and fluffy, so I like leaving mine 1/4-1/2" thick. 
    3. Using a pizza cutter, slice the dough into 3/4 " strips.
    4. You can twist the strips, but I like mine just straight with slashes cut with a knife for decoration. Let rise for 20 minutes in a warm spot. I like putting mine in a warm oven, it speed it up and makes the really rise!
    5. Bake at 375 degrees F for 10-15 minutes.
    6. Once they come out of the oven, brush with butter and sprinkle with garlic salt, parsley, and parmesan cheese.  You can also top with other seasonings like Italian dressing seasoning pouches, or actually mix an herb of your choice IN the dough like thyme or rosemary.

    ENJOY!

    Ravioli with Zucchini

    From: Rochelle

    At this time of year, EVERYONE's garden starts producing WAY too much Zucchini than one knows what to do with. I LOVE Zucchini grilled, roasted, even raw. This dish is SO easy and SO yummy .  . and, it uses Zucchini! I got this recipe from my Fast & Healthy Cookbook (by Pillsbury). I love that cookbook! Everything I make from it is WONDERFUL and full of flavor! Enjoy this wonderful light summer dinner idea.


    Ravioli with Zucchini
    From Fast & Healthy, Pg. 234

    1 (9 oz) pkg. refrigerated cheese or beef filled ravioli (I got some WAY yummy beef ones that were on sale!)
    3 C Zucchini, julienne-cut
    1/2 C green onions, sliced
    1 med. red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
    1/2 t garlic powder
    1/2 t dried basil leaves ( I get the basil from Christopher Ranch in a jar; it tastes fresh, but lasts a  LONG time in the fridge).
    1/4 t Salt
    1/8 t Pepper
    1/4 C Water
    1/2 t low sodium chicken-flavor instant bouillon
    1 oz (1/4 C) shredded reduced-fat Mozzarella Cheese

    1. Cook ravioli to desired doneness as directed on package.
    2. Meanwhile, spray large nonstick skillet with non-stick cooking spray. Heat over medium-high heat until hot. Add zucchini, onions, bell pepper, garlic powder, basil, salt and pepper. Cook and stir 3 to 5 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender.
    3. Drain ravioli; rinse with hot water. Add ravioli, water and bouillon to vegetable mixture; mix gently. Cook over medium-low heat for an additional 3 to 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring occasionally. Add cheese; toss gently to combine. 

    Makes: 4 (1 Cup) servings


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