Friday, February 26, 2010

Mushroom Curry with Green Rice

When mushrooms go on sale, this is what I make. I found the base for this recipe in the very first issue of "Better Homes and Gardens" that I received. Rob and I are rice maniacs (every time we go out for Thai, we have to request extra rice), so we doubled the amount of rice the recipe originally called for, but if you are trying to cut down on carbs, halve my proportions for it below. And if you are a carnivore, adding chicken to the wok works great.

Mushroom Curry with Green Rice
2 cups rice
1 can coconut milk
1 cup snipped fresh cilantro
5 tsp minced ginger (powder works too)
3 cloves minced garlic
2 Tbsp lime juice
1 pound mushrooms (portobello are my favorite for this, but I use whatever is cheap)
2 Tbsp canola oil
1/2 cup sliced green onions
2 tsp curry powder (preferably madras, but normal works fine too)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered (or tomato of your choosing)
Chopped peanuts to taste

Cook rice according to package directions.

In a blender or food processor, combine 1 cup of the coconut milk, the cilantro, 2 tsp minced ginger, 2 garlic cloves, and the lime juice. Blend until nearly smooth, then stir into the cooked rice.

In a 12 inch skillet or wok, cook mushrooms in hot oil over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add green onions, curry powder, and remaining ginger and garlic. Cook and stir 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes and remaining coconut milk. Heat through. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with nuts, and serve over the rice.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Chicken Stock based soups

So previously I told you how to make homemade chicken stock. You can use it in many other areas and it can go a long, variety of ways. So I am going to provide a few of my family favorite things to make/do with chicken stock. Lots are great for hot winter meals.

Simple yet delicious Spinach Soup

1 can of chicken stock or 2 cups of homemade stock

1 package of frozen spinach

Parmesan cheese

Spices as needed

Place chicken stock in a sauté pan and heat on medium-high heat. Start to boil and add frozen spinach and simmer until spinach absorbs 1/4 of stock. Slowly add Parmesan cheese until you taste enough. Sometimes I had salt, pepper, garlic and other spices. Then serve with garlic bread or any other bread of your choice.

NOTE: My neighbor made this for me over Christmas and I have to say it is one of my favorite cold winter night’s meals. It is also super quick with lots of veggie power- Spinach. I like a lot of Parmesan cheese and prefer real Parmesan, but you could also make it Romano cheese as well. But don't use fresh spinach as it doesn't wilt as well or wilt your spinach in another dish, and then add into stock.

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

Pot of chicken stock

Chicken, previously cooked and diced




In one pot cook stock, carrots, celery for about 20 minutes, until veggies are soft. Add chicken for about 5 minutes. Cook noodles in a different pot and add before serving.

NOTE: Simple, healthy yet delicious. I love homemade chicken noodle soup so much more than store bought stuff and it really doesn't take that much time or effort to make. I also love it because with kids, you can use any noodles you want. My Oma use to make this soup and add ABC noodles (you know the really, really, really small alphabet noodles) and ten challenged us to make words out of our spoons. Great learning experience. Sometimes I also add tomatoes into the soup. You really could add any veggies you want to put in the soup, but be careful, as they will soak up the stock. That is also why you don't put uncooked noodles into the stock.

Alternative uses:

Base for any soups, risottos, or sauces for chicken or poultry dishes.

Instead of water in rice, couscous, noodles, or steam vegetables for a new taste

Banana Chocolate Chip Bread

This is one of my favorite recipes and gets a ton of compliments. It is probably one of the most requested recipes I have as well. It is pretty easy to make and makes several loafs, so enjoy.

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
4 large eggs at room temperature for 30 minutes
2 1/3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 cups coarsely mashed very ripe bananas (6 large bananas)
1/4 cup creme fraiche
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 2 (9X5X3 inch) metal loaf pans, then dust with flour, knocking out excess.

Sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt into a bowl.

Beat together eggs, sugar in a bowl of electric mixer at medium-high speed until very thick and pale and mixture forms a ribbon when beater is lifted, about 10 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add oil in a slow stream, mixing then mixing bananas, creme fraiche, and vanilla. REmove bowl from mixer and fold in flour mixture and chocolate chips gently but thoroughly.

Divide batter between loaf pans, spreading evenly, and bake in middle of oven until golden brown and a wooden toothpick or skewer comes out clean, about 1-1 1/4 hours.

Cool loaves in pans on rack for 10 minutes, then turn out onto rack. Turn loaves right side up and cool completely.

BAKING NOTEs- you can use whole wheat flour, but use half all-purpose and whole wheat flour. for a little extra healthy benefit, add 1/4 cup of ground flax seeds to the flour mixture. If you cannot find Creme Fraiche, use sour cream, but most speciality stores will have creme fraiche. I usually find it at Wegmans. (I also freeze the extras, so that I don't have to keep repurchase). I freeze my bananas when they start to over ripen, but crush them first. I mark how many bananas are in each bag so that I know when I go to bake. Do not freeze bananas in skin as they are really difficult to peel and get liquidly when defrosted.
In addition, this recipe can be made into muffins, I believe it is 20 minutes, but it maybe 30, so cross check they are done before removing them from the oven. It is a great breakfast on the go as muffins. Lastly be careful that the entire loaf bakes. I tend to make 3 loaves rather than 2 as I find 2 loaves tend to have a difficult thoroughly cooking in the middle.

World's Best Cinnamon Rolls

(sorry this post is up late; my week has felt topsy-turvy and I lost track of the day)

My Dad has long laid claim to the best cinnamon roll recipe I've ever come across. His cinnamon rolls beat any I've tasted, including the exceptionally popular but somewhat overrated Cinnabon. The secret? Potato. It may seem strange to include mashed potatoes in cinnamon roll dough, but I promise you the finished product bears no resemblance to potato bread. It is light, fluffy, and moist.

Greg Burton's Cinnamon Rolls

Scald 2 cups milk.

Combine in bowl:

1/2 cup shortening (I've never tried this with butter although I don't really like using shortening.)
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. salt
1 cup cold mashed potatoes (you may use instant potatoes; although they don't taste as good on their own, it doesn't make a difference in this recipe.)

Pour scalded milk over potato mixture and beat with mixer.

In another bowl combine:

2 Tbsp dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water

When milk/potato mixture has cooled and yeast is foamy, beat together with mixer. Beat in:

2 eggs
4 cups flour.

Stir in about 3 additional cups of flour, adding 1/2 cup at a time. When dough is still very sticky (keeping it sticky is important) but workable, dump into a greased bowl and turn over once. Cover and let raise in warm area until doubled. Dust counter with flour and divide dough in half. Roll out each half into a rectangle about 1/2 inch thick. Spread with butter (my Dad does not skimp. If you're going to indulge, you might as well indulge). Sprinkle with plenty of brown sugar and/or white sugar and cinnamon. If you put enough sugar in that it will caramelize at the bottom of the pan while baking, it's all the better.

Roll dough into a tube and cut 1 inch slices with dental floss or thread. Place on greased jellyroll pan and let raise again until doubled. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or more. Spread glaze on immediately after removing from oven.


(we like the simplicity of this glaze because the roll itself is so rich, but you may substitute any frosting you like.)

6 Tbsp butter
3 to 4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Beat with mixer until smooth.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Squid Dogs (recipe for kids and the kid at heart)

Squid Dogs (recipe from

hot dogs
dry spaghetti

1. Cut hot dogs into 3 or 4 pieces. Thread dry spaghetti through the hot dog (we did 4 spaghetti noodles per hot dog)

2. Boil hot dogs and spaghetti until spaghetti is al dente. Drain.

3.Eat and enjoy. Dip in ketchup if desired.

We had fun making these on one of our snow days with our friends. Great way to get kids involved in cooking.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Moroccan Chicken Stew with Couscous

In honor of Lizbeth, who is trying to eat more vegetables for lent. Depending on how you count tomatoes, you could get all five of those daily veggies with this dish. I should add that I never measure spices, and I'm pretty sure that I use more than what I list here, but you can start with this quantity and adjust to taste.

Moroccan Chicken Stew with Couscous

1.5 cups couscous
3 cups water
2 tsp chicken bouillion granules
1-2 chicken breasts
1 large onion
2-3 carrots
2 tsp minced garlic
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp honey
1 zucchini
1 bell pepper (any color)
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup cooked chickpeas (optional)
  1. Bring the water and bouillion to a boil. Remove from heat, stir in couscous, and cover until liquid is absorbed (roughly 5 minutes). When ready to serve, fluff with a fork.
  2. Heat a little oil over medium heat in a soup pot. Peel and slice the onion into 1/4 inch rings, adding them to the pot as you slice. Peel, slice, and add the carrots.
  3. Dice the chicken and add to the pot. Add the garlic. Cover, raise the heat to high, and cook for two minutes.
  4. Dice the zucchini and the bell pepper. Uncover the pot and immediately add in the zucchini and bell pepper, spices, diced tomatoes, and honey. Stir again. Cover and cook until the chicken is fully cooked (roughly 10 minutes), stirring occassionally.
  5. Add the raisins and chickpeas (if using). Cook for 1 minute to combine flavors, and serve over a bed of couscous.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Homemade Pasta Sauce

After looking at Elise's recipe, I decided to add one of my favorite homemade tomato sauces for you. I only has 3 ingredients and is super easy and delicious. I can eat it by the spoonful.

2 large cans of whole tomatoes (or your home canned tomatoes)
1 sweet onion, cut in half
1/2 cup of butter

In a large stock pot, place the tomatoes, onion and half the butter. Let simmer on medium temperature for about 1 hour. Then slowly add the rest of the butter, 1 Tablespoon at a time. The longer the sauce sits, the more the flavors absorb. Place last little bit of butter right before serving over fresh pasta.
You can pull out the onion if you wish, but I actually really like the onion with the sauce. Pull apart to serve. If freezing the sauce, remove the onion before freezing.

NOTES: This sauce can be made in about 45 minutes if you bring to a hard boil, but it taste best if simmered over 2-3 hours. Plus tomatoes are better for you the longer they simmer.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Do-it Yourself Pasta

I like pasta, but it is not something I get very excited about. I don't think I have ever ordered it at a restaurant.

However, I love eating fresh home-made pasta. The taste does not compare to the packaged stuff you buy at the store, even the good varieties. The good news is that it is easy to make, takes few ingredients, and you don't have to have any special kitchen equipment.

My three year old likes to help me prepare the pasta; that's how easy it is. Here is a good basic recipe:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 pinch salt
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon butter
(You may substitute water for the milk, but I like the taste of milk in the noodles.)

1.In a large bowl, stir together the flour and salt. Add the beaten egg, milk, and butter. Knead dough until smooth, about 5 minutes. Let rest in a covered bowl for 10 minutes. (I usually complete this step in my KitchenAid so I can let it do all the kneading for me. It makes it much easier.)

2.On a floured surface, roll out to 1/8 or 1/4 inch thickness (it is said that your backside should work up a sweat as you roll it out; don't worry if you find that this is the case for you). Cut into desired lengths and shapes. I don't have any special pasta tools, so I usually just use a pizza cutter. It works just fine.

(here is my pasta, rolled out, cut, and drying a little before I cook it.)

3.Allow to air dry before cooking. A traditional method for this is to suspend a broom handle over the backs of two chairs and hang the noodles on that, but I usually just let them sit on my cutting board. I don't worry if they dry all the way before cooking, as I haven't noticed a difference. If you are storing them, though, you must let them dry all the way or they will stick together. These freeze very well. It is nice to make a large batch and put some away for use later in soups or stews.

4.To cook fresh pasta, in a large pot with boiling salted water cook until al dente. Remember that fresh noodles cook much faster than the packaged, dried kind.

Special tip: It is easy to make ravioli once you have rolled out the pasta dough. Simply cut circles out using a glass or biscuit cutter, put some filling in the middle of the circle, fold in half over the filling, and crimp the edges with a fork. You can fill your ravioli with cheese, meat, or a mixture of cheeses, meats, or vegetables such as spinach.

You may also use spinach or other vegetables to color your pasta. See HERE for some good ideas and recipes. Another option would be to use whole wheat flour in place of some or all of the all-purpose flour.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Chicken Fajitas

Every Wednesday night was “Fajita Night” when I lived with my friend Sarah shortly after finishing my undergrad. I have many fond memories of cooking and eating with her (especially when she’d cook wearing her lab coat, goggles, and a hat made out of her O-Chem molecule kit). While fajitas stopped being a weekly meal after I got married, I was crushed when we moved here and couldn’t find the seasoning packets I used for them at the grocery store. Out of desperation, I started playing with different recipes, and I wound up with this dish, which I love even more. We like our fajitas veggie heavy, but if you are a true carnivore, feel free to increase the chicken and take out a pepper or two.

Chicken Fajitas
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp Cider vinegar
1 Tbsp Soy sauce
1 Tbsp Canola oil
1 tsp Chili powder
1 Clove minced garlic
Juice of ½ lime (or some concentrate)
2 Chicken breasts
1 Onion
3 Bell peppers, any color
Toppings (we like cheese, sour cream, and rice)

1. Combine first 7 ingredients in a large bowl.
2. Cut chicken, onion, and peppers into thin strips and add to bowl, stirring to coat. Marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature, or several hours in the refrigerator.
3. Sauté until chicken has cooked through. Serve on tortillas with your favorite tortilla toppings.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Potage Parmentier

3-4 cups (or 1 pound) peeled potatoes, sliced and diced
3 cups (or 1 pound) thinly sliced leeks, including tender greens
2 quarts (8 cups) water
1 Tbsp salt
4 - 6 Tbsp whipping cream (or 2-3 Tbsp. softened butter)
2-3 Tbsp. minced parsley or chives

Simmer vegetables, water, and salt together, partially covered, for 40-50 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
Mash the vegetables together in the soup with a fork, potato masher or similar utensil or with a emulsion blender.
Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Set aside uncovered until just before serving. When you are ready to finish the soup, reheat to a simmer.
Turn off heat and just before serving stir in cream or butter by spoonfuls until you reach your desired consistency.
Pour into soup bowls and sprinkle with herbs.

Makes 6 servings.

NOTE: So I made this soup for the first time yesterday. I like loaded bake potato soup, but never really have loved leeks. But I thought I would try it as it is a very traditional French winter soup. It was very good. I did adjust the recipe slightly. First I added some vegetable stock to the water. I also included black pepper, as I like pepper with my food. Then when it was all done, I added some butter and some cream rather than one or the other. Why not have the best of both world. This recipe was in the local newspaper in the morning and it sounded just so good. It is cold, snowy (a little dusting) and windy here in Lausanne. Soup sounded like a perfect idea for dinner. I hope you enjoy.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Cheap Eats: Black Beans

We are on a student budget while Joel is getting his MBA, so sometimes I have to be a little creative to get our grocery budget to stretch. One thing we really like to have is black beans. I prepare them from the one pound bag you buy at the grocery store.

It is a little daunting to start cooking with dry beans, but there are numerous health benefits to adding them to your diet. You can cook up a whole bunch at once and freeze them. They are great to add to soups or casseroles to make the other ingredients stretch a little, and they add great flavor. There is no real recipe, but here are the cooking tips I've used:

(Don't be scared! It looks like there are more steps than there are, and while it takes them a while to cook, you actually only have to help them along for a few minutes--your stove does all the work!)

  • Wash the beans off and make sure there are no small rocks or twigs in the bag (yes, it can happen, but it's normal).
  • The fresher the beans, the more quickly they will cook. You can expect it to take anywhere from 1 1/2 hours to 2 1/2 hours for older beans.
  • If you would like to reduce cooking time, you can soak the beans overnight in a covered pot by covering the beans with water (make sure the water is two inches higher than the beans). If your kitchen is very warm, it is advisable to put the pot in the refrigerator so the beans don't ferment.
  • If you are planning to use these beans for a salad or other recipe where they must absolutely remain whole, do not soak them overnight, as this can result in beans that fall apart more easily.
In the morning, you can pull them out, drain the water, fill up the pot with fresh water, and simmer on the stove for a couple of hours.

If you did not pre-soak the beans, this is a good way to cook them:
  • Combine 1 pound of beans with about 8 cups of water. Simmer for a few minutes, then turn the stove off and remove from heat. Cover and let stand for one hour. Drain and rinse. Add more water and bring back to boiling; reduce heat. Cook for an hour or two until the beans are tender.
  • Do not salt the beans until they are done; the salt will prevent them from getting tender.
  • When they are done, you can pull them out and serve them with salads, rice, or any number of things.
HOWEVER, my favorite way to have these beans is to follow these next steps (it's more effort, but well worth it.)
  1. take the beans (with a little water from the pot) and put them in an oven-safe dish with a lid. Add salt, pepper, diced onion, minced garlic, and if you have it on hand, a few strips of bacon laying on top of the beans.
  2. Cook at 350 for an hour or two or until the beans become even more tender. They will have just started to fall apart which results in a nice, thick "saucy" texture amongst the remaining whole beans.
  3. Remove from oven and top with freshly chopped cilantro.
This last step with the oven really adds some good flavor and texture to the beans. You can eat them like this plain or over yellow rice. We also like to put it in quesadillas on those nights we feel like having something a little different (you'll never want to go back to regular refried beans after this).

Remember, you can cook these up on a free day and keep them in your freezer for a quick add to soups or other recipes. At a little over a dollar for a pound of beans (yields 6 cups cooked), it is a real bargain, especially if you use it as the main protein in your meal.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Lemon Vinaigrette

½ tsp Dijon mustard

1 garlic clove, minced

1 Tbsp fresh or 1 tsp dried thyme (or your favorite)

salt and pepper to taste

zest and juice of 1 large lemon or lime

¼ C olive oil

In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except olive oil. Mix well to incorporate. Start whisking and slowly add the olive oil. Mix until an emulsion is formed. Serve over fresh greens.

I got this recipe from an Italian class Andrew signed me up for. Ever since then we make this all the time. It is my favorite dressing. I've made it with lemons, limes and oranges and they are all really good. Our favorite way to eat is over romaine lettuce, craisins, candied pecans and feta cheese. The easiest and best way to hold an emulsion is to use a stick blender instead of the whisk. The dressing will hold the emulsion and be good for several weeks.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Tangy Parmesan Tilapia

This is one of my favorite fish recipes. I like tilapia because it isn't very expensive, easy to get and it has a mild taste which my family likes. This recipe is from a healthy cooking magazine I get that I love! I use a lot of recipes from the magazine for everyday meals. This one was definitely a keeper - enjoy!

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise
1 tablespoon reduced-fat butter, softened
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon dried basil
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Dash onion powder
4 tilapia fillets (5 ounces each)
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a small bowl, combine the first eight ingredients; set aside. Line a broiler pan with foil and coat the foil with cooking spray. Place fillets in prepared pan; sprinkle with salt. Broil 3-4 in. from the heat for 2-3 minutes on each side. Spread 1 tablespoon cheese mixture over the top of each fillet; broil 1-2 minutes longer or until topping is golden and fish flakes easily with a fork. Yield: 4 servings.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

For your Valentine....

Raspberry Cream Cake

White cake (directions below)
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 TBSP confectioner sugar
1 1/2 to 2 cups fresh red raspberries**
1 package of red raspberries, whole and put off to the side for decorations, optional.

Make cake according to the directions in two 8' round pans. (You can also use cupcakes as well, but I like a cake). Cook cake and let cook on a cooling rack.
Place raspberries in a bowl and crush with a fork. Set aside.
Once the cake is cool, whip the heavy whipping cream. About half way done, toss in the confectioner sugar. You want the cream to come to very heavy stiff peaks (means well, well whipped). Gently fold (stir gently with a spoon) in the crushed red raspberries into the cream (hence you want it whipped to a heavy peak) until cream turns a pink color.
Place first layer of cake on a plate. Frost the center of the cake with cream. (Optional Place several whole red raspberries around the edges. If you have a lot of raspberries, you can line the layer with fresh raspberries, but make sure you line the outside so the cream does not fall out the side of the cake.) Place second layer gently on top. Do not push down on cake. Frost the top and sides of cake with remaining cream mixture. All the cream should be gone and the cake should be covered completely in raspberry cream mixture. Use remaining raspberries to decorate the top and side of cake.

**If need be you can use frozen raspberries. Just thaw completely before adding them to the cream mixture. And you will not have any to put on top or in the middle for decorations.

Classic White Cake
from Epicurious

2 cups all-purpose flour (spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 large egg whites
3/4 cup milk

Two 9-inch round cake pans, buttered and bottoms lined with buttered parchment or wax paper

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl, mixing well.

Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for about 5 minutes, or until very soft and light. Beat in the vanilla.

Whisk together the egg whites and milk by hand in a medium mixing bowl until just combined.

Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in one-quarter of the flour mixture, then one-third of the milk mixture, stopping and scraping down the bowl and beater after each addition. Beat in another quarter of the flour, then another third of the milk mixture. Scrape again. Repeat with another quarter of the flour and the remaining milk mixture; scrape. Finally, beat in the remaining flour mixture.

Scrape the bowl well with a large rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the tops.

Bake the layers for about 30 to 35 minutes, until they are well risen and firm and a toothpick inserted in the center emerges clean. Cool the layers in the pans on racks for 5 minutes, then unmold onto racks to finish cooling right side up.

NOTES: I absolutely love this cake. It is one of my all time favorites. Normally I make it for Valentine's Day because it is pink and looks really, really pretty. But I also love it in the summer because it is light. It does not weigh you down. It is also really easy to make. Anyone can do it. However, It does not do great made to early. I usually make the cake ahead of time, but frost it right before serving. It works best that way. However, if made ahead of time, make sure to refrigerate the cake. You can also make it from a box cake mix-- White Cake Mix. My mom likes the chocolate cake with this as the frosting, but I prefer white.
WARNING: You eat more of the cake than expected. So don't just think you are eating one piece and putting it away.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Bold Oven Fried Sweet Potato Wedges

Sometimes you just need a little more kick than brown sugar can offer. The spices may seem like a quirky combination, but they work well together. I serve these as an "appetizer" because they're usually gone by the time the rest of the meal is ready.

Bold Oven Fried Sweet Potato Wedges

2 lbs sweet potato
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp canola oil

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Coat a cookie sheet with cooking spray.

2. Cut potatoes in half, lengthwise. Place each potato half, cut-side down, on cutting board; cut into 1-inch thick wedges.

3. Combine chili powder, thyme, salt, cumin and cinnamon in a small bowl.

4. In a separate bowl, toss together potatoes, oil, and spice mixture until well-coated. Arrange on pan in a single layer. Roast until potatoes are tender and browned, 20-25 minutes.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Chicken Nuggets

3 chicken breast, cut into 1 inch strips
1/2 cup butter
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. paprika

Prepare a cookie sheet by putting aluminum foil on it (for zero clean up) and spraying it with PAM. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Cut up chicken breast into 1 inch strips. Put aside.
Melt butter in microwave in a bowl. While butter is melting place remaining ingredients into a large baggie.
Place chicken strips into butter than into baggie (about 5-7 at a time). Coat the chicken well. Pull chicken out of baggie and place on baking sheet in a single row. Once all the chicken is complete, put in oven for 15 minutes per side. Remember to flip at 15 minutes. Remove and serve hot.

Serves 4 people

NOTE: I really like this Chicken Nugget recipe. It is healthy (not the super processed stuff you get in the grocery store freezer), but is also delicious. You can also add 1 TBSP of ground flax seed if you want to make it healthier. It can be eaten by parents and children alike. I usually serve it with French Fries and no veggies. I haven't found a veggie I really like it with it yet. I also haven't found a kid who won't eat it yet. Also like Michelle, I tend to make these in bulk and stick the in my freezer just before the cooking part. It is a great freezer meal. I do recommend if you freeze them that you freeze them on a cookie sheet for 2-5 hours before you stick them in a baggie to freeze. This way they don't get stuck together. It is also great because then you can just pull them out of the freezer and cook when you are on tight schedule or get home late and it is still a home cooked meal.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Best Whole Wheat Bread

I know everyone has a bread recipe they like, but I have recently found one I love and will never stop using. It is 100% whole wheat but it is as light and fluffy as a storebought loaf, without all the additives.

I fell in love with this bread when my visiting teacher brought it a few weeks ago. We had some immediately and it was perfectly soft and warm from the oven. However, the next day I sliced into it. . .and it was still soft! I could bend a thin slice all the way in two without it breaking. Usually I use the next-day-bread for toast, especially if it is 100% whole wheat, but we had it fresh with honey and butter.

I asked my visiting teacher about her recipe and she was nice enough to share it. The recipe calls for a little vital wheat gluten, which I found at my local specialty organic market for about $2.50 a pound. This is the secret to the nice texture.

The best part about this recipe? You only let it rise once. Yes, that's right. It has a few steps but it is very, very easy.

Janel's Easiest Whole Wheat Bread (yields 3 loaves)

Blend 1/2 cup flax seed in blender until broken apart (I just use Hodgson's Mill brand milled flax seed, which can be found at Walmart, because that is what I had in my pantry)

Let rise in mixer:
3 3/4 c. water
1 1/2 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. yeast
1 Tbsp. sugar

Add to yeast mixture and mix together with dough hook:
1 1/2 Tbsp. salt
1/2 c. oil
1/2 c. to 3/4 c. sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. lemon juice

Add and mix together with dough hook:
Blended flax seed + enough whole what flour to equal 5 1/4 cups total
1/3 to 1/2 c. gluten (original recipe calls for 1/2 c. gluten but mine
seems okay with the lesser amount)

Add 3 3/4 c. flour
Mix on high for about 10 minutes, until dough pulls away from the
sides of the bowl. Dough will be very soft and moist, but if it is
too moist (not "cleaning" the bowl after mixed for 10 minutes) add
another 1/4 cup or so of flour.

Pre-heat oven for a minute or so until it is lukewarm and turn off.
Turn dough onto oiled counter top. divide, shape into loaves; place in
oiled pans. Let rise in warm oven 30 to 45 minutes (it may even take
longer) until the dough reaches just to the top of the pan. Do not
remove bread from the oven. Turn the oven on to 350 degrees and bake
30 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes in pans, then
remove from pans and cool on racks. Yields 3 loaves.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Freezer meal to the rescue

I love making freezer meals. It is a fun way to get together with friends, try new recipes and be prepared for a multiple of reasons. Right now I am grateful for a freezer full of meals because of the new addition to our family. I am just not up to cooking for the family but I know that we have healthy meals that need minimal prep.
Tonight for dinner we had Cheese steaks from my Fix, Freeze, Feast cookbook.

6lbs sirloin tip or any beef suitable for slow cooker
6 tsp beef bouillon
3 C water
3 large onions, cut into strips
3 large green peppers, cut into strips
18 slices deli cheese (cheddar, monterey jack, muenster)
18 steak rolls
3 gallon freezer bags
6 sandwich bags
3 quart freezer bags

1. Rinse and trim beef, cut into 3 equal pieces. Place a piece of beef in each of the quart bags. Add 2 tsp bouillon and 1 cup water to each bag. Seal bags
2. Divide peppers and onions into 3 sandwich bags. Seal
3. Divide cheese into 3 sandwich bags. Seal.
4. Label gallon bag, place one bag of beef, veggies, cheese and 6 rolls into each bag. Freeze.

To Cook:
Thaw bag in fridge.
1.Put beef and broth into a crockpot. Cook on low for 5 to 6 hours (or high for 3hours) or until beef is tender and pulls apart easily with a fork. Remove beef from broth and set aside until cooled enough to shred. Reserve broth.

2. Preheat oven to 350.
3. Meanwhile, heat 2 tsp oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add peppers and onions and stir-fry until soft, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

4.Slice open rolls, divide beef and veggie mixture among the rolls. Place cheese slice on each sandwich. Close and wrap in foil. Heat in the oven about 10 minutes. Unwrap carefully and serve with broth for dipping.

These are really yummy, they seem to be more of a glorified french dip sandwich than a cheese steak but either way they are really yummy. I changed the main recipe slightly, I divided the meat into 4 pieces and this will give us 4 sandwiches instead of 6. I also used orange, red and green peppers for color.