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Friday, October 5, 2012

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

This is new all-around favorite pizza dough.  I love that it can be made in advance.  And it tastes fabulous--not too thin, not too thick, crisp yet chewy.  We love it!  I've been using it for over a year now and haven't looked back.  From America's Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook.

2 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour
2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 envelope or 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
1  1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees)

1.  Pulse 2 cups of flour, 2 cups of whole-wheat flour, yeast, and salt in a food processor to combine.  With the processor running pour the oil then the water through the feed tube and process until a rough ball forms 30-40 seconds.

2.  Let the dough rest for 2 minutes, then process 30 seconds longer.  If the dough is sticky and clings to the blade add an additional 1/4 cup white flour 1 tablespoon at a time until no longer sticky.  Pulse to incorporate.

3.  Turn the dough onto a lightly floured counter and knead it into a smooth round ball.  Place the dough in a large lightly greased bowl and cover with greased plastic wrap.  Let rise in a warm place until nearly double in size 1-1 1/2 hours before using.

To Make Ahead (refrigerate):
Do not let the dough rise in step 3, but wrap tightly or cover in a greased bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 16 hours.  Let the dough sit for 30 minutes at room temperature before using.

To Make Ahead (freeze):
The dough can be frozen for up to 1 month; let the dough rise as directed in step 3, then wrap tightly in greased plastic wrap and freeze.  Let the frozen dough thaw on the counter 2-3 hours, or overnight in the fridge before using.

4.  To bake, preheat the oven and a pizza stone to 475 degrees for 30 minutes.  Cut dough in half.  Roll out dough (should make enough for two 14-inch pizzas).  Place dough on silpat mat or parchment paper on a rimless baking sheet.  Top with favorite toppings, slide onto pizza stone and bake 10-15 minutes.  Let stone reheat 5 minutes before baking second pizza.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Apple Dumplings

This is the real deal.  An amazing authentic apple dumpling baked to the perfect consistency—a nice soft, sweet apple on the inside enveloped in a crisp buttery crust.  I think we prefer these over the amazing apple dumplings.  I guess there’s special about the real deal.  We like to serve these dumplings warm with vanilla ice cream.  Serves 8.  From Cook's Country October/November 2009

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1¼ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
5 tablespoons vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
¾ cups cold buttermilk

Apple Dumplings
6 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons golden raisins, chopped
4 Golden Delicious apples (see note*)
2 egg whites, lightly beaten**

Make Dough
Process flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in food processor until combined. Scatter butter and shortening over flour mixture and pulse until mixture resembles wet sand. Transfer to bowl. Stir in buttermilk until dough forms. Turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead briefly until dough is cohesive. Press dough into 8- by 4-inch rectangle. Cut in half, wrap each half tightly in plastic, and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

Prep Apples
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Combine sugar and cinnamon in small bowl. In second bowl, combine butter, raisins, and 3 tablespoons cinnamon sugar mixture. Peel apples and halve through equator.  Using a melon baller or a metal teaspoon scoop out core and seeds carefully so as to not pierce bottom half of the apple.  Then pack butter mixture into each apple half.

Assemble Dumplings
On lightly floured surface, roll each dough half into 12-inch square. Cut each 12-inch square into four 6-inch squares. Working one at a time, lightly brush edges of dough square with egg white and place apple, cut-side up, in center of each square. Fold the corners of the dough diagonally to the center.  Overlap and crimp edges to seal.  Using paring knife, cut vent hole in top of each dumpling.

Finish Apples
Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange dumplings on prepared baking sheet, brush tops with egg white, and sprinkle with remaining cinnamon sugar. Bake until dough is golden brown and juices are bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool on baking sheet 10 minutes. Serve with ice-cream.

*Note: the apple you use is important!  Some softer apples such as a McIntosh run mushy, others are too crunchy when the pastry is done.  Suggested apples include other sweet, moderately firm apples like Golden Delicious, Braeburns, or Galas.

**Note: due to egg allergies I omit the egg whites completely and thought they were still fabulous...perhaps not the same nice sheen but still just as tasty.

Easy Pumpkin Spice Granola

Baldy said this granola is unlike anything he's ever had--it's amazing!  I love the idea of adding a little quinoa to the oats to up the protein too.  Adapted slightly from  I usually triple the recipe and it fits nicely on two large baking sheets in my oven.  I just rotate which one is on top and which one is on bottom when I stir the granola.

1/4 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed well and pat dry with paper towel
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup ground flaxseeds
1/4 cup pepitas (or other seed)
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup real maple syrup
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp canola oil or melted coconut oil
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
dash of ginger
pinch kosher salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 325° F.  Spread oats and quinoa out on a parchment lined baking pan. Toast in the oven 10 minutes, stirring once.

Remove the oats from the oven, pour the toasted oats into a large bowl and add the ground flaxseeds, pepitas, and pecans.  Mix.

In a medium bowl, combine maple syrup, pumpkin puree, oil, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt and vanilla.

Pour over oat mixture and stir together with a spatula. Spread back onto a baking sheet and bake an additional 45-60 minutes, stirring every 15-20 minutes or until golden.  Add dried cranberries after it has cooled a bit.  One batch makes 3 2/3 cups.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Raisin Bran Muffins

A pet peeve of mine is the end of the cereal bag where the cereal is all crushed.  Raisin Bran is one of the worst.  So to help it not go to waste, I keep the extra crushed cereal in a ziploc bag to use when I want to make these muffins.  My girls actually like these best without raisins.  Sometimes I put in some dried craisins with the bran cereal instead.

1 cup non-fat milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 cups Raisin Bran cereal
1 cup all-purpose flour (or half whole wheat flour)
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon

optional topping: 
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 T butter or margarine, melted

Preheat oven to 400F*.  Grease or line 12 muffin cups.  Combine milk, oil and egg in a bowl.  Stir in cereal and let stand 10-15 minutes.  Stir to break up cereal.   Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and cinnamon in seperate bowl.  Add to cereal mixture, stirring until just moistened.  Divide evenly among muffin pan.  Bake for 10 minutes for mini muffins,  20* minutes for regular muffins or until toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool on a cooling rack for a couple of minutes.  Then remove from pan.  If desired make topping (we usually skip this part and still love them).  Combine cinnamon and sugar.  Brush muffins with butter and sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top.  Best served warm.  Makes 12 muffins or 2 dozen mini muffins.

*Note for my dark non-stick pans I heat the oven to 375-385 and bake for 9-10 minutes for mini muffins, 16-18 minutes for standard muffins.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Fast Broccoli Cheese Soup

You can do it from start to finish in minutes and it tastes like you made it from scratch.  Good enough for company and doubles for a large crowd.  Serve with homemade bread or in a bread bowl.  From Katie Christensen (who got it from Emily Reese).

2 cans (10.25oz) of cream of chicken soup
3 T grated onion
2 T butter or margarine
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
3 cups milk
1 package fresh or frozen broccoli florets, steamed until very tender

In a large stockpot saute the onion in the butter.  Over low heat, add a can of soup to the pot and stir.  Add cheese and stir until thoroughly melted.  Add milk and whisk until smooth.  Add the broccoli and stir.  Simmer until bubbly.

CROCKPOT VERSION: After sauteeing the onion in skillet you can put all the ingredients in a crock-pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until bubbly (at least 1 hour).
VARIATION: You can use a package of mixed broccoli and caulifower or even double the broccoli to make it more hearty.

Taco Soup

This is our favorite taco soup.  Using the tomato juice in the base makes it extra yummy.  Slightly adapted from Celeste Peterson.

1/2 c diced onion
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 can (46oz) tomato juice
1 can (15oz) diced tomatoes (I like petite diced)
2-3 cans (15oz) beans, rinsed and drained (we like black, great northern, or kidney)
1 can (15oz) corn or hominy or 1 cup frozen corn
2oz. (1/4 c) taco seasoning
1 jar mild salsa

In a large stockpot brown meat with onion.  Then add the rest of the ingredients and heat until warm.  Serve with sour cream, cheese, avocado slices, corn chips, or tortilla strips.  We also love this with corn muffins.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Chocolate Bundt

Taken from the Philadelphia Cream Cheese Classic Recipes Cookbook.  This recipe is really simple, and is always a hit!  (And if you don’t have time for it to cool, it is even good served warm!)

•           1 package (8oz) cream cheese, softened
•           1 cup sour cream
•           1/2 cup water
•           2 eggs
•           1 package of chocolate or devil’s food cake mix
•           1 package (4 serving-size) of instant chocolate pudding
•           1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Mix cream cheese, sour cream, water, and eggs with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended.  Add cake mix and pudding mix; beat until well blended.   (Batter will be stiff). Fold in chocolate chips.

Pour in a greased & floured bundt pan.

Bake at 325F for 1 hour to 1 hour and five minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.  (If using a dark nonstick pan, reduce temperature by 25 degrees and time by 10 minutes).  Cool five minutes, remove from pan.  Cool completely on wire rack.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar or drizzle with chocolate glaze before serving if desired.  Makes 10-12 servings.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Chicken with Mushrooms and Zucchini

This meal is quick and amazing.  It’s a great way to enjoy zucchini.  From mel's kitchen cafe.

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
½ tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
½ tablespoon sesame oil
8 ounces white button mushrooms, stems removed and quartered
4 small zucchini*, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 garlic cloves (minced)
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger or 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely minced

Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Heat the oil and sesame oil in a large, non-stick skillet until rippling and hot. Add the chicken and cook until the chicken is browned on all sides and cooked through, 5-7 minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate.

Add the zucchini and mushrooms to the hot skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often. Add soy sauce, vinegar, garlic and ginger. Stir to coat the vegetables and continue to cook until the mushrooms and zucchini are tender, 2-3 minutes. Add the chicken to the skillet and stir to combine and heat through. Serve over hot, cooked rice or couscous.

*Note: If you have larger zucchini, cut them in half lengthwise and scoop out the seedy middle before slicing into chunks. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Creamy Blueberry Pie

My friend from Iowa, Faith Parkinson, passed along this delicious award-winning pie recipe.

•           3 cups fresh blueberries
•           1 (9 inch) deep dish pie crust
•           1 cup white sugar
•           1/3 cup all-purpose flour
•           1/8 teaspoon salt
•           2 eggs, beaten
•           1/2 cup sour cream
•           1/2 cup white sugar
•           1/2 cup all-purpose flour
•           1/4 cup butter

  1. Combine 1 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, and salt. Add eggs and sour cream, stirring until blended.
  2. Place blueberries in pastry shell, and spoon sour cream mixture over berries.
  3. In another bowl, combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup flour. Cut in butter or margarine with pastry blender until mixture resembles course meal. Sprinkle this mixture over sour cream mixture and berries in the pie shell.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 55 minutes on the middle oven rack or until lightly browned and center is set.  If needed, raise the pie up the upper-middle level for an extra 3-5 minutes to set the center.   If desired, garnish with additional blueberries and mint leaves.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Honey Wheat Rolls

These are our new favorite rolls (and they're egg-free!), the only draw back is they take awhile for the two risings. They are soft and moist and don't taste heavy like some whole wheat rolls.  Also the honey adds a nice touch of sweetness.  Adapted from King Arthur Flour (we preferred them crescent shape, and the recipe below reflects that change).

·          1 packet "highly active" active dry yeast, or 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast, or 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
·          1 cup lukewarm water
·          1/4 cup orange juice
·          1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
·          3 tablespoons honey
·          1 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
·          2 cups King Arthur Traditional Whole Wheat Flour or King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour
·          1 1/4 teaspoons salt
·          2/3 cup instant mashed potato flakes or 1/4 cup potato flour
·          1/4 cup nonfat dry milk

1) If you're using active dry or "highly active" yeast, dissolve it with a pinch of sugar in 2 tablespoons of the lukewarm water. Let the yeast and water sit at room temperature for 15 minutes, until the mixture has bubbled and expanded. If you're using instant yeast, you can skip this step.
2) Combine the dissolved yeast with the remainder of the water and the rest of the ingredients. Mix and knead everything together—by hand, mixer or bread machine set on the dough cycle—till you've made a smooth dough. If you're kneading in a stand mixer, it should take about 5 to 7 minutes at second speed. In a bread machine (or by hand), it should form a smooth ball.
3) Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl. Cover the bowl, and allow the dough to rise, at room temperature, till it's quite puffy but not necessarily doubled in bulk, about 90 minutes to 2 hours. Rising may take longer, especially if you've kneaded by hand. Give it enough time to become quite puffy.
4) While the dough is rising, lightly grease a baking sheet.
5) Gently deflate the dough, and transfer it to a lightly greased work surface. Divide it in half or thirds.  Take one third and cover the other two pieces with a towel or plastic wrap.  6) Roll each section into a circle and then cut into 12-16 wedges (pizza slices).
7) Roll each wedge up crescent style and place on grease cookie sheet.
8) Cover the pans with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the rolls to rise for 1 to 2 hours. They'll become very puffy. While the rolls are rising, preheat the oven to 350°F.
9) Bake the rolls for 8-12 minutes, bake until they're mahogany-brown on top, but lighter colored on the sides.
10) Remove the rolls from the oven, and after 2 or 3 minutes, carefully transfer them to a rack. They'll be hot and delicate, so be careful. Serve warm, or at room temperature.

Maple Brown Sugar Ham in the Slow Cooker

I keep coming back to this recipe every holiday we make a ham.  It tastes fabulous and it's just so nice to have more oven space for roasting veggies and baking rolls.  

7-8 pound bone-in spiral-cut ham
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup all natural maple syrup (yes, please use pure maple syrup and not pancake syrup)
2 cups pineapple juice

Use a 6-7 quart slow cooker. Unwrap the ham and discard flavor packet. Place the ham into the slow cooker stoneware, flat-side down. Rub brown sugar on all sides. Pour on maple syrup and pineapple juice. Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours. An hour before serving, baste ham with the collected juices from the bottom of the slow cooker. When cooking is done, remove carefully and let it rest on a cutting board for 10 minutes before carving.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Mock Lasagna

I can't believe I haven't posted this recipe.  This is a classic in my family.  My mom always made it and now it's a favorite of my kids.

•           ½ lb. to 1 lb. of ground beef*
•           16-20 ounces of spaghetti sauce (1 jar)
•           2 cups of dry whole-wheat macaroni or penne
•           12 oz. Cottage cheese
•           1-2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
1.  Cook macaroni and set aside. 
2.  Brown ground beef* (add onion if desired). Then add the spaghetti sauce to make a meat sauce.
3.  Layer in a glass 9x13 dish:  macaroni, cottage cheese, cheddar cheese, meat sauce.  Repeat.
4.  Bake at 350˚F for 30 minutes uncovered.  

*Lately I always add 1/4 cup cracked wheat to every one pound of ground beef I cook.  I just add it with the onions as the meat is browning.  It makes the dish a bit healthier and one pound of meat feeds our family for twice as many meals.

This dish freezes well.  Just cover with foil and freeze.  Thaw at least 24 hours before baking if possible.  If it is still a little frozen when you put it in the oven you may have to increase baking time. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Rainbow Jell-O

I'm not really a Jell-O person.  I don't like most Jell-O's, except for this one.  My mom would often make this for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner.  I love the cool and creamy tang the yougurt adds to the Jell-O as well.  The flavors just meld together perfectly.  I've seen even some of the toughest gourmet critics taste a bite and exclaim, "That actually is quite good!"  So whether your a Jell-O afficioando or astranged to the stuff you should try this sometime.  The presentation is really quite lovely as well and people will think you are sooooooo talented.  But honestly it's super easy--it just takes awhile.  Plan on being home for 6-7 hours and adding a layer every 28-30 minutes.  Enjoy!

3 oz. (small box) of Jell-O* in the following flavors
  1. Lime
  2. Lemon
  3. Orange
  4. Strawberry (can omit this flavor)
  5. Raspberry
  6. Black Cherry
2 cups plain yogurt**

1.  Bring water to boil.  Dissolve the lime Jell-O  in 1 cup of boiling water in a small bowl with a wire whisk.  (Note: always measure the water after you bring it to a boil).
2.  The pour out 1/2 cup of the dissolved Jell-O into a seperate mixing bowl.  Add 1/3 cup of plain yogurt and whisk together.
3.  Then pour the yogurt Jell-O mixture on the bottom of the 9x13 glass pan and place in the fridge.
4.  Add 1 T of cold water to the clear Jell-O still in a bowl. Wait 25-30 minutes.
5.  Then add the clear Jell-O layer on top of the yogurt Jell-O layer.  Wait 25-30 minutes.
6.  Repeat steps with each flavor of Jell-O in the order given above finishing with the Black Cherry on top.  Serve plain or with cool whip/cream.

*Note, Jell-O brand works better then generic.  Also if you want to use Sugar-Free Jell-O it works great with this recipe.
**Lowfat plain yogurt tastes great.
***One more note, NO ONE in my family likes this recipe with a blue Jell-O layer.  The artificial "berry blue" flavor is quite overpowering.  

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

This recipe is from here. Tailor these to fit your family's taste using raisins, dried fruit, nuts, peanuts, chocolate chips, coconut, etc. My kids love them with mini chocolate chips. I prefer to omit the cinnamon if I'm doing a chocolate batch.

4 c. dry oats (I used old-fashioned but you can use quick)
1 1/2 c. flour (I used 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, 1 cup all-purpose)
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. sugar
1 t. cinnamon (optional)
1/2 t. salt
3/4 c. oil (I used 1/2 c. applesauce and 1/4 c. oil)
4 eggs
1 1/2 c. raisins, dried cranberries, dried fruit, nuts and/or chocolate chips

Mix together all ingredients until just combined. Press into a greased 13×9 casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Let cool completely before cutting into individual bars.