Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Carol's (Quick) Easy Pita Bread

I usually like my pita bread whole wheat, but we were out, and I didn't have time to grind some, so I searched on google recipes (If you haven't tried google recipes, you need too!) and found this one.  We had these with our Chicken Waldorf Salad. YUM!

2 cups flour
2 1/4 teaspoons quick-rising yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups hot water ( but not boiling)
1 -1 1/2 cup flour

Combine first four ingredients in a large bowl. Beat well about 1 minute. Then mix in the remaining flour, using just enough to make a soft, sticky dough. Turn out on floured board and continue to knead for 5 minutes. Divide into 8 balls. Roll out each one to about 1/4 inch thick and 6 inches in diameter.
Place on very lightly greased cookie sheet sprinkled with cornmeal (although cornmeal is really not necessary if you don't have it). Let rise in warm place for 25-35 minutes . Bake at 450 for 4 min, and then turn over for 4 more minutes or until lightly browned. Wrap immediately in a dishtowel for 3 or 4 minutes.

Source: Food.com

Monday, August 29, 2011

Chicken Waldorf Salad

We needed a fast, light, refreshing, and cool dinner the other night. Mmm, mmm. I love me this salad! We had ours with pita bread, but you could have it with just about anything. This salad comes together really quickly, especially if you use leftover chicken.

Chicken Waldorf Salad 

    1 medium apple, unpeeled, chopped
    Juice of 1 lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
    2 cups diced cooked chicken (about 1 large breast)
    1 cup red seedless grapes, halved
    1 stalk celery, finely chopped
    1/4 cup craisins
    1/2 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
    1/4 - 1/2 c. red onion, chopped
   
Dressing:

    3/4 cup yogurt (preferably Greek non-fat)
    Juice of 1/2 orange (about 1/4 cup)
    1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    Paprika, to taste

Mix the ingredients for the salad, set aside. Mix the ingredients for the dressing, add to salad. Chill. VoilĂ ! You have a nice, cool, refreshing salad! Serve with pretty much anything. :)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Pepper Stromboli

This last week we had an experimental vegetarian week. I counts for my "cook with something you have never cooked with before" goal, by the way.  It is so easy for me to make, and eat vegetarian, and this week was to prove to Daniel that vegetarian can be "good." You know what? He didn't complain...but I don't think either of us will ever give up meat. We had a lot of good recipes, but I think this one was my favorite. It's delicious!

Pepper Stromboli

    3 medium  red, yellow, and/or green sweet peppers, chopped (3 cups)
    1 tablespoon  minced garlic (6 cloves)
    1 tablespoon  butter
    1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon  crushed red pepper
    3/4 cup  shredded mozzarella cheese (3 oz.)
    1/2 cup  ricotta cheese
    2 tablespoons  snipped fresh basil
    1 10-ounce package  refrigerated pizza dough (I just made my own)
    1   egg, slightly beaten

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degree F. Line a large baking sheet with foil or parchment paper; grease foil and set aside. In a large skillet cook sweet peppers and garlic in hot butter over medium heat about 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in the crushed red pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper; set aside to cool slightly.

In a medium bowl stir together the mozzarella, ricotta, and basil. Stir pepper mixture into cheese mixture until well combined; set aside. On a lightly floured surface roll out pizza dough to a 16x10-inch rectangle. Cut into two 8x10-inch rectangles. Spoon half of the pepper mixture along one of the long sides of one dough rectangle, leaving a 1-inch border along the long side and a 1/2-inch border along the short sides. Spread pepper mixture to a width of about 3 inches. Fold one long side over the pepper mixture. Seal seam and ends, tucking seam under the loaf. Carefully place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.

With a sharp knife cut 4 diagonal slits in the top of each loaf. Brush loaves with egg. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand 10 minutes. Slice each in half and serve warm. Makes 4 servings.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Creamy Strawberry and (leftover) Cream Cheese Frosting Ice Cream


Do you ever have cream cheese frosting leftover? I did recently. I had a bunch of frosting leftover from the cake I made for our anniversary. I didn't really know what to do with it. (I could have always made another cake...but I didn't think that was a good idea.)We are having a bunch of friends over tonight, and what is better than ice cream on a hot summer night? Nothing. So, I thought I would use the frosting in the ice cream. After looking at several recipes, and not finding one that would work,  (You see, none called for leftover frosting.) I tried my hand at making my own (awesome) recipe. So here goes...

Creamy Strawberry and (leftover) Cream Cheese Frosting Ice Cream

1/2 recipe of cream cheese frosting
1/2 lb. strawberries, hulled and cut in half
1 c. milk
2 c. heavy cream (you could do less, it would probably just take longer to mix...and not be as creamy)
1 tsp. vanilla
pinch of salt

In a blender, combine strawberries and 1/2  milk. Blend to desired consistency. (I like mine a little chunky.) Set aside. In medium sized bowl (I actually just use the container I will be storing the ice cream in...saves dishes, and I'm all about saving dishes...ask Daniel), combine frosting with leftover milk until smooth. Add strawberries, vanilla, and salt, stir until smooth. Stir in cream. Freeze according to manufacturers directions.

Go ahead...indulge yourself!


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Broccoli Cauliflower Bake

No deception needed, this was delicious! Heather had several servings, and enjoyed it for lunch too! We all loved this recipe, and I will be making it again soon. I thought just the broccoli and cauliflower would not be as substantial as I would like for dinner, so I made some rice to go with it. Yum!

Oh, and once again, sorry about the gross looking photo. What you see pictured there, is the leftovers. I promise it is much better than it looks in the photo. Someday I'll get my act together...

Broccoli Cauliflower Bake

4 c. broccoli florets
3 c. cauliflower florets
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 Tbs. butter
1 can cream of chicken or mushroom soup
3 oz American cheese, torn
1/4 c. milk
1/2 tsp. dried basil, thyme, or marjoram, crushed
3/4 c. bread crumbs
1 Tbs. butter, melted

In large saucepan cook broccoli and cauliflower (you can use the frozen broccoli/cauliflower mix). Drain Well. Remove from saucepan and set aside. In the same saucepan cook onion in 1 Tbs butter. Stir in soup, cheese, milk, and basil. Cook and stir over med. heat until cheese is melted. Add the broccoli and cauliflower. Stir, and transfer mixture to a 13x9 pan. Toss bread crumbs with melted butter, sprinkle over vegetable mixture. Bake, uncovered, in a 375° oven for 20 mins.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Crockpot Buffalo Chicken and Pizza

 I made this pizza a LONG time ago, and found the recipe the other day. I guess I never blogged about it. I guess I didn't take a picture either...at least, I can't find it. Oh well...better late than never. We love pizza over here, and this one is definitely going into the rotation. It's delicious, and easy.  Perfect.

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

Serves 3-4

1 large bone-in skin-on chicken breast (about 12 ounces)
salt
1 teaspoon oil
1 tablespoon butter
¼ cup Frank’s hot sauce
½ teaspoon packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon plain yogurt
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
pinch of sugar
pinch of garlic powder
2 ounces (½ cup) mozzarella, shredded
1 ounce (¼ cup) blue cheese, crumbled
¼ cup red onion or scallions, diced very fine
12-16 ounces pizza dough stretched out to 9-12 inches

For the chicken and buffalo sauce: Throw the chicken, butter, sugar, hot sauce, and vinegar in the crockpot. Cook on low for 5 hours or until chicken is done. Shred the chicken with a fork. Keep the sauce. 

For the white sauce: In a small bowl, stir together the  yogurt, mayonnaise, sugar, garlic powder, and a pinch each of salt and pepper.

Assemble the pizza: Spread the white sauce evenly on the pizza dough; top with the chicken, then the cheeses, and finally the onions.
Bake the pizza for 8-10 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbling and the crust is browned. Let the pizza rest about 5 minutes before cutting and serving.

Source: Definitely adapted from: The way the cookie crumbles


Friday, August 19, 2011

Vegan Banana Oatmeal Cookies

I had three bananas to use up. Because Daniel and I have been making more of an effort to eat healthier, I didn't want to make sugary banana bread/muffins. So, I found something similar to this recipe on allrecipes.com, and this is what I came up with. You can really add just about anything to these cookies, bruised apples, chocolate chips, nuts, the sky's the limit!

Vegan Banana Oatmeal Cookies

3 bananas, mashed
2 c. oats
1/3 c. craisins (I would have added more, but that's all I had)
1/2 c. raisins
1/3 c. applesauce (the original recipe used oil)
1 tsp. cinnamon, maybe more
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine all ingredients, let sit for 15 mins. Drop by rounded teaspoonfulls onto a greased baking sheet. Flatten. Bake in a preheated 350° oven for 13-15 mins. Or until slightly brown.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tossed Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

I know the photo looks gross, but this salad was delicious! I forgot to take the picture the day we had it, so I took it of my leftovers (I had it for lunch, and it was still good...albeit a little soggy. I fixed that problem by adding more croutons.) I love having a nice light salad, on a hot summers day. We all liked it, and will definitely be adding this to our salad repertoire (is that the right word?). This recipe makes a lot, so I did about a third of it.

Tossed Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette 

1 bunch romaine, torn
1 med head iceberg lettuce, torn
10 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
2 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
1 c. slivered almonds
1 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
1 c. salad croutons

Vinaigrette:

3 Tbs. lemon juice (I used more)
3 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2/3 c. olive oil (I used less)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Salmon with Polenta

We absolutely loved this dish! It made us feel so authentic! ;) 

Salmon with Polenta

2 celery ribs, chopped
2 med. onion, chopped
2 Tbs. olive oil, divided
1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
1/4 c. minced fresh parsley
1 1/2 tsp salt, divided
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. pepper
6 c. water
2 c. cornmeal
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
6 salmon fillets (I used tilapia)

In a dutch oven, saute celery and onion in 1 Tbs. oil until tender. Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, parsley, 1/2 tsp. salt, Italian seasoning, thyme, basil and pepper. Cover and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

In a large heavy saucepan, bring water to a boil. Reduce heat to a gently boil; slowly whisk in cornmeal. Cook and stir with a wooden spoon for 15-20 mins. or until polenta is thickened and pulls away cleanly from the sides of the pan

Place flour in a large shallow bowl, coat salmon on both sides. In a large skillet, brown salmon in remaining oil. Transfer salmon to tomato mixture; cook, uncovered, for 3-5 mins or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Serve salmon and sauce with polenta.

Source: Taste of Home

Friday, August 12, 2011

Alton Brown's Homemade Soft Pretzels

Some of you know I was on a sugar fast for about two weeks recently. Daniel and I traditionally have dessert on date night, but since I couldn't eat sugar, we decided to make pretzels. These hit the spot!  Salt is good, but we also tried garlic seasoning, and cajun seasoning. Those ones were also good. I think I liked the cajun the best.

Homemade Soft Pretzels

1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 package active dry yeast
22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil, for pan
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water


Pretzel salt

Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.

Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.

In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.

Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Peanut Butter Trifle

I just had to make this picture big...to magnify the goodness
I made this delicious and very rich Peanut Butter Trifle for Daniel's birthday/Father's day. I was going to make it on Daniel's birthday, but he wasn't feeling well, so I made it on Father's day. We just celebrated our dad that whole week, I guess. :) (He certainly deserves to be celebrated more than that.) And there is no better way to celebrate Daniel than peanut butter and chocolate, but this peanut butterie, chocolatey, amazing dessert out does them all!

Peanut Butter Cup Trifle

1 (9x13) pan of baked brownies, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 (5.1 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding
3 cups milk
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tsp vanilla
1 (8 ounce) container thawed Cool Whip, divided
20 peanut butter cups, crumbled (or more if you're using minis)
6-8 peanut butter cups to garnish.

Mix pudding according to package directions. With a whisk or beaters, beat in peanut butter until fully incorporated. Fold in 2 cups cool whip.

Layer in trifle dish 1/2 the brownies, 1/2 the crumbled peanut butter cups, ½ the pudding mixture. Repeat. Top with cool whip and peanut butter cups. Chill at least four hours before serving.

Source: Sweet Luvin' in the Kitchen

Friday, August 5, 2011

Crepes

I made these for Daniel's birthday. He LOVES crepes and I thought he would be ecstatic, and I think he was, but he wasn't feeling well so he only ate like three (the ones pictured above). I will not disclose how many I ate...but suffice it to say that I am pretty sure I made up the difference. The ones shown here are bananas and nutella (a special treat at our house), peaches and cream, and strawberries and chocolate.

Basic Crepes
Recipe by Our Best Bites
2 eggs
2 Tbs canola oil
3 Tbs sugar (omit if making savory crepes)
1 C flour
1 1/3 C milk
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend on low speed until combined, or whisk by hand until there are no lumps.
Heat a non-stick skillet to medium-high heat.  Hold pan with one hand while you pour the batter with the other hand.  Twirl the pan in a circular motion pouring just enough batter to coat the bottom of the pan.   Place on cooking surface and cook until edges are set and you can easily run a rubber spatula around the edge of the pan, 30 seconds.   Flip crepe and cook an additional 15-20 seconds.  Remove crepe from pan and either keep warm in the oven or cool to room temperature.
Fill with your choice of savory (meat, cheese, vegetable) or sweet (pudding, mousse, pastry cream, fruit) filling.  Top sweet crepes with  with Strawberry Sauce, Buttermilk Caramel Syrup, Hot Fudge, or just a dusting of powdered sugar and sweetened whipped cream.
Unfilled crepes can be stacked between sheets of waxed paper and refrigerated or frozen.  To thaw, leave at room temperature.  


Makes 12-14 8″ crepes

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Lemon Sour Cream Pie


So...I made this recipe the day before Josh was born. It was pi day.  I made chicken pot pie, and this deliciously amazing pie. I am pretty sure making both pies (along with a 3.14 mile walk) was what put me in labor. I was actually a little disappointed that I only got to enjoy one slice before I went to the hospital. Anyway...it's awesome!

Lemon Sour Cream Pie

1 c. sugar
1/4 c. corn starch
1/8 tsp. salt
1 c. milk
3 egg yolds, beaten
1/4 c. butter, cubed
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon peel

Meringue:

3 egg whites
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
6 Tbs. sugar
1 c. sour cream
1 pastry shell (9 inches), baked

Lemon peel strips, optional



In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt; gradually stir in the milk. Cook and stir over med-hi heat until thickened and bubbly, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat; cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Gradually stir 1/2 c. into egg yolks, return all to the pan. Bring to a gentle boil, cook and stir for 2 minutes. remove from heat; stir in butter, lemon juice and peel. Set aside.


For meringue, beat egg whites, vanilla and cream of tartar until foamy. Add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form; set aside.

Fold sour cream into the lemon mixture; pour into pastry shell. cover with meringue, sealing to the edges of the pastry. Bake at 350° for 12-15 minutes or until golden. Garnish with lemon peel strips if desired. Cool completely. Store in the fridge.


Source: Taste of Home