Saturday, November 7, 2009

WW Chocolate Applesauce Cake

I tried one other cake recipe this week to take to a dinner party with friends last night and it came from the Weight Watcher's website. It was so moist and had a great texture, everyone there loved it! The portion size was very generous too, I think next time I could cut it up into 12 servings and it would still do quite nicely. 4 points per serving.

Weight Watcher's Chocolate Applesauce Cake

Ingredients
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup fat-free egg substitute
  • 3 Tbsp reduced calorie margarine, melted
  • 1 1/3 cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup lite whipped topping
Instructions
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat an 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray.

  • Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda and sugar. Beat together egg substitute, margarine and applesauce; blend into dry ingredients.

  • Spoon mixture into pan and smooth top. Bake until cake feels slightly firm in center, about 25 minutes. Cool completely before cutting into 8 pieces. Top each piece with 1 tablespoon of whipped topping.
Instructions
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat an 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray.

  • Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda and sugar. Beat together egg substitute, margarine and applesauce; blend into dry ingredients.

  • Spoon mixture into pan and smooth top. Bake until cake feels slightly firm in center, about 25 minutes. Cool completely before cutting into 8 pieces. Top each piece with 1 tablespoon of whipped topping.

Guilt-Free Cupcakes

Today is my birthday, Happy Birthday to me! But birthdays mean celebrations, which often mean over-eating and empty calories, but not this year! I have been following Weight Watcher guidelines for just over 2 months now and am on my way to a healthier, skinnier life, and I knew that I still had to have some cake on my birthday, so when I found this recipe for cupcakes, I gave them a try hoping that it would do well enough. But let me tell you, IT WAS SO GOOD! I would eat these cupcakes even if it wasn't my birthday, and even if I wasn't watching my caloric intake! My husband and kids ate them eagerly too, and I'm excited to have another one tomorrow! Each cupcake has only 2 weight watchers points, yeah!


Guilt-Free Cupcakes
  • 2 cups moist-style cake mix (1/2 of an 18.25-ounce box), I used cherry chip
  • 1 cup canned pure pumpkin
  • 1/3 cup fat-free liquid egg substitute
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar-free maple syrup (I used reduced sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
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Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all cupcake ingredients in a mixing bowl with 1/3 cup of water. Whip with a whisk or fork for 2 minutes until well blended.

Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick spray or line with baking cups. Evenly spoon batter into muffin cups.

Place pan in the oven and cook for about 12 minutes (until cupcakes have puffed up but still appear a little gooey on top).

Top with low-fat or fat-free whipped topping.

This recipe is adapted from the Hungry Girl website, click here for a link to the original recipe. I had to make a few adjustments to the recipe based on what I had in my pantry, but I'd love to try the original version too. And now that I'm thinking about it, I bet it would also pretty good with a chocolate cake base. Hmm, anyone have a birthday coming up that I can make more cupcakes for?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Crock Pot White Chicken Chili

I came across this recipe on the Betty Crocker website and thought it looked pretty tasty, so I made it up a few nights ago. It was a wonderful, rich, filling soup with a little kick of spice that tasted great on a cool autumn night! I made a batch of cheddar onion bread in my bread maker to top off the meal, yum!

Crock Pot White Chicken Chili

4skinless chicken thighs
1large onion, chopped (1 cup)
2cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 3/4cups chicken broth (from 32-oz carton)
1teaspoon ground cumin
1teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1/2teaspoon salt
1/4teaspoon red pepper sauce
2cans (15 to 16 oz each) great northern beans, drained, rinsed
1can (11 oz) white shoepeg corn, drained (I just used yellow corn)
3tablespoons lime juice
2tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro



Remove excess fat from chicken. In 3 1/2- to 4-quart slow cooker, mix onion, garlic, broth, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper sauce. Add chicken.


Cover and cook on Low heat setting 4 to 5 hours.




Remove chicken from slow cooker. Use 2 forks to remove bones and shred chicken into pieces. Discard bones; return chicken to slow cooker. Stir in beans, corn, lime juice and cilantro. Cover; cook on Low heat setting 15 to 20 minutes or until beans and corn are hot.
Weight Watchers points per serving: 4

Saturday, October 3, 2009

WW Au Gratin Potatoes

I found this recipe on the Weight Watchers website and I was BLOWN AWAY by how amazing these potatoes are, so yummy!!! By far the BEST au gratin potatoes I have ever made. I served them with these delicious apple and Gouda cheese chicken sausages from Costco. They are pre-cooked so you only have to reheat them. The potatoes are 3 points a serving and the sausage is another 3 points, so 6 points for the whole dinner! Jarom is already asking when we can have that for dinner again!

Weight Watcher's Au Gratin Potatoes (Serves 8)

Ingredients


1 spray(s) cooking spray

1 Tbsp butter

1 medium onion(s), thinly sliced

2 Tbsp all-purpose flour

2 cup(s) fat-free skim milk

2 pound(s) Yukon Gold potato(es), thinly sliced

1 cup(s) low-fat shredded cheddar cheese

1 tsp table salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat a 2-quart covered baking dish with cooking spray.

  • Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour; add milk slowly, stirring. Add potatoes and stir to mix. Bring to a boil. Stir in 3/4 cup of cheese, salt and pepper.

  • Pour mixture into prepared baking dish and level out surface. Bake for 1 hour, uncovered. Cover and bake until potatoes are fork-tender, about 20 minutes more.

  • Change oven temperature to broil. Sprinkle remaining cheese over potatoes. Broil 6 inches from the heating element until the cheese is golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before slicing into 8 pieces.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Smothered Chicken with Brown Rice

I was thumbing through my Kraft Foods magazine this afternoon and saw a recipe that looked pretty tasty, and when I read over the ingredients, I had everything on hand so I thought I would give it a try! Click here for a link to the original recipe.

I really liked the taste of the meal, although it took longer to make than I expected (about an hour). The recipe said it served 4, but I got a good 6 servings out of it! Weight Watchers points: four servings, 8 points, six servings 6 points.


Smothered Chicken with Brown Rice
  • 4 slices bacon (I cooked up 7 or 8 because I know my boys like bacon)
  • 4 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1 lb.)
  • 4 large carrots (1 lb.), thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup fat-free chicken broth, divided (I used 2 bouillon cubes dissolved in 1 cup boiling water)
  • 2 oz. cream cheese (I used 3 sections of Laughing Cow cheese)
  • 3 cups hot cooked brown rice
Cook and stir bacon in large nonstick skillet on medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from skillet and drain on paper towel. Discard drippings.

Add chicken to skillet and cook 5 to 6 minutes on each side until golden brown and done to 165 degrees F. Transfer chicken to plate and cover with foil to keep warm.

Add carrots and onions to skillet with 1/2 cup of broth. Cover and simmer 10 min. or until vegetables are tender.

Stir in broth and cream cheese. Cook, uncovered, 2 minutes or until cheese is melted and sauce is thickening, stirring frequently. Return chicken to skillet and cook 2 minutes or until heated through.

Spoon rice onto serving plate and top with chicken, sauce, and bacon.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Pizza Dough


To say my family loves pizza would be a gross understatement. And I am no different! But since we live relatively far from most decent pizza places, and because we rarely go out to eat anyway, I've been making pizza at home for a few months now. I've used a few different recipes for crust (bread maker, bread stick dough,and biscuit dough to name a few), but I saw this recipe over at Real Mom Kitchen and had to give it a try. First attempt, pretty good, but I spaced it and forgot to add salt. (who does that?!?) Second time, too tough. Third time, perfection! I love how fast this dough is to make and it really tastes good! I made a BBQ chicken pizza the night I took the picture, so it works with all kids of pizza toppings.

Fast and Easy Pizza Dough

*3 cups flour, more or less
1 tablespoon honey, heaping
1 tablespoon oil, heaping
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. (If using a pizza stone, let stone heat for at least 30 minutes in the oven before baking pizza.) Mix all pizza dough ingredients together, except the flour. Add flour and knead for a bit then put into pan (or use a pizza peel and pizza stone). Top dough with sauce and toppings. If baking in a sheet pan, bake for about 12 minutes (checking often) until crust is browned and cheese is golden and bubbly. If baking on the preheated pizza stone, slide pizza onto stone and bake for about 8 minutes. Makes 1 large pizza.

*I found that my dough turned out a lot better and much softer by using less flour, more like 2 1/2 cups. And I bake mine on a pizza stone and don't preheat it since I don't have a peel, and it turns out just fine.

Crepes

A few weeks ago, my mom brought me a big box of apricots, so I spent the next few days making three batches of apricot jam! I love apricot jam, it always reminds me of my childhood since my mom would always make some every summer with the fruit on their big apricot tree.With all that yummy jam, I had to make some crepes for lunch because fresh jam and crepes are about as perfect of a match as you could hope to find! I've seen a few crepes recipes out there that are long and complicated, but these ones are easy to make, only have a few ingredients, are super yummy, and very kid-friendly!

Crepes
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1 cup flour

Whisk the milk and flour, then gradually mix in the flour. Stir until smooth.

Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat for a few minutes until its nice and hot. Spray a little non-stick spray to coat the surface. Pour about 1/4 cup of the batter in the middle of the skillet, then move the skillet around around to spread the batter around the base of the skillet. Cook for a minute or two, or until you see small bubbles covering most of the crepe. It should look very lightly browned, but not dark. Flip and cook on the other side another minute or until you can shake the skillet gently and it no longer sticks. Turn onto a plate and make your next one.

Then take your finished crepe and spread a spoonful of jam around the crepe, then roll up and serve. You can also fill it with fresh fruit and whipped cream, pudding, Nutella and bananas, or whatever your heart desires!

Enjoy!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Soft Zucchini Cookies

With so much zucchini out there, I thought I'd share some more of my sister's best zucchini recipes that are also becoming *my* best zucchini recipes too! I made these cookies last week and they were so moist and yummy, but I forgot to take pictures!

*update* According to my calculations, these cookies are 2 Weight Watchers points each, how great is that?

Soft Zucchini Cookies
  • 1/2 cup shortening (I used butter)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups flour
  • 3 cups grated zucchini
  • optional (but who are we kidding?) 1-2 cups chocolate chips, 1 cup chopped nuts (I made mine without nuts)
Cream shortening with sugars. Add eggs and vanilla. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Spoon the batter onto greased cookie sheets and back at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes until lightly browned around the edges.

Zucchini Bread

Zucchini Bread

Add in a mixing bowl:
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbls. vanilla
  • 2 cups peeled and grated zucchini
Then add:
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • Optional: 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Pour batter into 2 greased and floured loaf tins. Bake at 350 degrees for 60-70 minutes.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Chocolate Zucchini Cake
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup baking cocoa
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 cup milk
Mix together, then add:
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 cups peeled and grated zucchini
Mix well and pour into greased 9 x 13 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until done.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Chocolate Zucchini Roll

My wonderful sister Michele is so great at sharing her abundant zucchini crop with me each year and I always look forward to making her soft zucchini cookies (which I made today and will post the recipe for soon!), but this year she found another zucchini recipe gem that I made last night and it turned out really well! It looks pretty fancy and the kiddos had fun eating it too.

The original recipe is from allrecipes.com. Here it is:

Zucchini Roll

Ingredients
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup baking cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup shredded peeled zucchini
Filling:
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • Additional powdered sugar
Directions:

  1. In a mixing bowl, beat eggs and vanilla. Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; add to egg mixture and mix well. (batter will be thick). Stir in zucchini. Spread into a greased and waxed paper-lined 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10-15 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. (I baked mine for about 12 minutes, but next time I'll check it at 10 minutes.)
  2. Turn onto a linen towel dusted with powdered sugar. Peel off waxed paper and roll up, jelly-roll style, starting with a short side. Cool on a wire rack.
  3. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla until fluffy. Beat in powdered sugar. Unroll cake; spread filling to within 1 in. of edges. Roll up again; dust with powdered sugar. Refrigerate until serving.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Cheesy Biscuit Dogs

For lunch the other day, I tried this fun little twist on the usual pigs-in-a-blanket and it turned out great! The kids liked it too!Cheesy Biscuit Dogs

Ingredients:
2 cups Bisquick
2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
6 hot dogs

(These directions are adapted from the Bisquick box for making cheese biscuits.)
Mix the Bisquick, milk, and cheese for about 10 strokes until the ingredients are all blended together, then knead on the countertop dusted with more Bisquick until the dough is a good consistency, just don't over knead or the dough will become tough. Roll it out to be about 1/2 inch thick and as square as possible. Cut the dough in six strips (mine were about 1 1/2 inches wide). Roll the strips around the hot dog and place on a greased baking sheet (I baked mine on a Silpat). Bake at 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Banana Bread

I made some more banana bread this week, and I just love this recipe, it's so moist and yummy, and a great way to use those bananas that seem to get brown before the kids eat them up. Did you know you can store bananas in the freezer? Just put the ones that are about brown in a Ziploc bag and keep it in the freezer until you have enough to make banana bread. It will be black, but will taste just fine. Just let it thaw an hour or so to make it easier to peel. Also, those stick blenders work fabulously well to mash bananas (much better than using a fork!). But you probably knew that already. :)

Moist Banana Bread

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 3 medium bananas (mashed)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
Grease pan. Beat eggs, butter, milk, sugar, and lemon juice. Mix until smooth. Add bananas and mix. Add dry ingredients and mix until flour is moist. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes if in one pan, or 30 minutes if using smaller loaves.

Crock pot meatloaf

Have you ever made meatloaf in the crock pot before? I hadn't until this week, but now I'm wishing I would have started doing it a long time ago, it was wonderful! Here's what I did:

Mix meat loaf ingredients together:
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1/2 oat meal
  • 1 egg
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoon powdered parmesean cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Good squirt ketchup
Coat crock pot with nonstick cooking spray. Pour a layer of tater tots on the bottom of the crock pot, then spread the meat loaf on top of the tater tots, spread flat on top. Coat top of meat loaf with ketchup or BBQ sauce. Cook on high heat for 3-4 hours.

Craisin Spinach Salad

Looking for a wonderfully refreshing, easy to make (and healthy!) salad for your summer picnic? This one is a sure winner, I hope you love it as much as we do! (Picture is without the almonds, sorry!)Craisin Spinach Salad

Ingredients:
  • Package of spinach
  • 1 to 2 apples cut in bite sized pieces
  • Strawberries
  • Fresh oranges slices or can of mandarin oranges
  • Caramelized slivered almonds
  • Handful of dry craisins
Dressing:
  • Zest of 1 to 2 lemons (about 2 Tablespoons)
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seed
Toss all the salad ingredients together. Set aside. Mix the dressing ingredients together in a separate bowl. Pour evenly over salad. Top with caramelized almonds.

Caramelized Almonds:
Cook and stir half cup sugar and 6 oz package of slivered almonds in medium to medium high heat until sugar dissolves and coats almonds, stirring constantly. Spread onto waxed paper or Silpat sheet until cool.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Cap'n Crunch Chicken & Sauce

Ok folks, here it is! The famous Cap'n Crunch chicken is here! I made this again for recipe group which forced me to type it up making it a lot easier to finally get it on my blog! This is another fabulous recipe from 52 weeks of Proven Recipes for Picky Eaters. LOVE that book.

Cap'n Crunch Chicken

Ingredients:
  • 3 cups Cap'n Crunch cereal
  • 1 cup Cornflakes cereal
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into bite-sized pieces (partially frozen chicken is easier to cut up)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Put the cereals in a Ziploc bag and crush with a rolling pin or a cup. Combine crushed cereals with other dry ingredients in a medium bowl. In another medium mixing bowl, beat the egg with a fork and stir in the milk. Dredge the chicken in the milk and egg mixture. With a slotted spoon, remove the chicken from the egg mixture, then toss in the dry mixture until the chicken is evenly coated. Place the chicken pieces on a cookie sheet coated with nonstick cooking spray and bank for 20 minutes, until golden brown. Serve with Tangy Mustard Sauce or your favorite BBQ sauce.

Tangy Mustard Sauce

2 Tablespoons Grey Poupon Dijon mustard
3 Tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
1 teaspoon creamy style horseradish sauce (or more if you like it hot)
1 teaspoon honey

Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. Chill until ready to serve. If you are a "saucy" person, double or triple the recipe - it's that good! You can also serve it on grilled chicken or atop a green salad.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Pasta with Sausage and Peppers

My friend found this recipe in the latest Kraft Foods magazine and told me how yummy it was, so I pulled out my magazine and made it too. Now, my husband enjoys my cooking and appreciates a home-cooked meal as much as the next guy, but he doesn't always comment much about the food unless it's really fantastic. Let's just say, he couldn't stop raving about this meal all during dinner! It is super easy to make, just a few ingredients, and is a sure hit! The best part? Even my 4-year-old and 1-year-old loved it! (sorry there's not photo, the food was gone before I could get any pictures taken!)

Pasta with Sausage and Peppers

Ingredients:
3 cups rigatoni pasta, uncooked
1 lb. Italian sausage, sliced
1 each: red, green and yellow pepper, coarsely chopped
1 can (14-1/2 oz.) Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained
1-1/2 cups KRAFT Shredded Italian* Mozzarella-Parmesan Cheese Blend
1/4 cup KRAFT Shredded Parmesan Cheese

COOK pasta as directed on package. Meanwhile, cook sausage in large skillet on medium heat 10 min. Stir in peppers; cook 7 min. or until sausage is cooked through and peppers are crisp-tender. Stir in tomatoes; cook 2 min. or until heated through.

DRAIN pasta. Add to sausage mixture with shredded cheese; mix well.

TOP with Parmesan.


**My notes. I didn't have any diced tomatoes, so I used 2 cans of tomato sauce and just let the spice from the sausage flavor the dish. I went to the store this week and got some diced tomatoes so when I make it again at the end of the week, I can see how it tastes with the other kinds of tomatoes. My husband really liked the sauciness of the tomato sauce though, so I might try adding a small can of that in addition to the diced tomatoes just to give it a little more sass. And for the sausage, I got the sausage that looks like Bratwurst, then cooked it whole about half way before cutting it up into slices, then continued along with the rest of the directions.

I'd love to hear what your family thinks when you make this for them!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

French Toast Souffle



I found this tasty little gem a few weeks ago and I made it on Memorial Day and was BLOWN AWAY by how delicious it was! The recipe makes a huge batch (12 eggs?!?) so I made a half batch and it still made quite a bit, but the leftovers were still fabulous. I just halved the recipe and baked it in an 8 x 8 pan. I just got a loaf of cinnamon bread from Walmart, and and the loaf must have been smaller because it nearly filled the pan. I assembled everything the night before to let the bread soak, then cooked it in the morning and it worked great! This would be a fun recipe for Christmas morning or a fancy brunch!

French Toast Souffle

8 oz cream cheese softened
1 cube butter
1 cup maple syrup

Microwave above for 30 seconds and beat until smooth

1 1oaf of cinnamon bread (from your local bakery)

Break into 1 ½ inch pieces and put in a 9 by 11 inch baking pan.
Pour cream cheese mixture over the top of the bread.

12 eggs
2 cups half/half, milk, or cream (or any combination of those to equal 2 cups)
1 tsp vanilla (more if you like)

Beat until frothy, pour over cinnamon bread in pan.

Bake at 350 for 60 minutes.
Dust with powder sugar, fruit, or syrup. Serve hot.

Can be assembled the night before, then cooked in the morning.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

One Hour Wheat Breat

This recipe comes from Real Mom Kitchen and I knew as soon as I saw it that I would have to give it a try. I have a few things on my list of things I want to be good at, and making bread, especially wheat bread, is on the top of that list. I also wanted a good way to start using some of the wheat in my food storage, and I found a winner! Some homemade wheat bread is so dense and thick, and even though it might taste good while it's still warm, it's almost inedible as soon as it cools down. Not this bread! It is so light and fluffy and tastes fantastic!

To get my wheat flour, I took some wheat (I think it was probably about 4 cups?) from my food storage and used my wheat grinder. It's a hand grinder and took me about 20 minutes to get 5 cups of flour, so next time I'm going to find someone with a nice electric one and get my flour that way! Good thing it tasted good so that my arms aren't sore for no reason!

One Hour Wheat Bread


Makes 2 (8x4 inch) loaves

3 c. whole wheat flour
1/3 c. gluten flour, sifted (or vital wheat gluten)
1 1/4 T. instant yeast
2 1/2 c. very warm tap water
1 T. salt
1/3 c. oil
1/3 c. honey or 1/2 c. sugar
1 1/4 T. bottled lemon juice
2 - 2 1/2 c. whole wheat flour

Mix together first three ingredients in mixer with a dough hook. Add water all at once and mix for 1 minute; cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Add salt, oil, honey or sugar and lemon juice and beat for 1 minute. Add last flour, 1 cup at a time, beating between each cup. Beat for about 6-10 minutes until dough pulls away from sides of the bowl. This makes a very soft dough.

Preheat oven for 1 minute to 180 degrees F and turn off. Turn dough onto oiled counter top; divide, shape into loaves, place in oiled bread pans. Let rise in warm oven for 10-15 minutes or until dough reaches top of pan. Do not remove bread from oven; turn oven to 350 degrees F and bake for 30 minutes (that is 30 minutes from the time you turn the oven on). Remove from pans and cool on racks.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Disappearing Biscuits


These are easy, fun to make, and fun to let kids help out with!

Disappearing Bisuits

You'll need:
  • 1 can of bisuits, or a batch of Bisquick biscuits (the small batch to make about 9), rolled out and cut into circles
  • Marshmallows
  • Melted butter, about 2 T
  • Cinnamon/sugar mixture
Now the fun part! Cut the marshmallows in half, then roll in the butter then the cinnamon/sugar mix. Place it in the middle of the biscuit dough, then seal the dough around the marshmallow.

Place it on a baking sheet, seam-side down, and bake according to the cooking directions on the package. You'll want to make sure it's cooked thoroughly, so you may need to add a minute or two.

As you can see from my picture, I should have left them in the oven for another minute or so because the marshmallow didn't "disappear" all the way, but that's ok, it was still fun to eat!

Nursing Wrap Tutorial

I just posted a tutorial on my other blog about how to make a nursing wrap, but I know it's not cooking related, so I won't repeat the post here, but I will send you a link if you want to check it out! Just click here!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Peanut Butter Cookies

oI first made these cookies when I was a kid in 4-H, so nearly 20 years ago! (Yikes, that makes me feel so old!) And let me tell you, these cookies have never let me down! They are also my husbands all-time favorite cookies. So yummy, so soft, so perfect, you really need to give these a try! I've made these with both creamy and crunch peanut butter and they work well with both kinds, but my husband prefers the crunch peanut butter. He likes the extra crunch they give the cookies. Either way, you really can't go wrong.

Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 cup shortening (I use butter)
3/4 to 1 cup peanut butter
2 eggs
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Mix sugars, shortening, 2 eggs, and peanut butter thoroughly.
2. Sift dry ingredients together and add, then mix. Add vanilla, then mix.
3. Shape into balls the size of a large walnut (I use my pampered chef medium scoop) and press out with a fork. Dip the fork into dry sugar to prevent sticking. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.
4. Bake 8 - 10 minutes at 375 F until very lightly browned. Makes 5 dozen cookies.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Cream Puffs, or Creme Puffs if you're fancy

Here's another recipe my mom would make all the time when we were kids and they disappeared about as fast as they could be stuffed. They are easy to make, so yummy, and very impressive! I made them for my stitch group tonight and should have taken a picture earlier, but at least I got a shot before we finished off the last two!

Cream Puffs

Ingredients:
1 cup water
pinch of salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) of butter
1 cup flour
4 eggs

Put the water, salt, and butter in a medium saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Add the flour, reduce the heat to medium and stir until it forms a ball. Remove from heat and let it cool for a few minutes.

Using a wooden spoon, add one egg and stir until incorporated. (It's a little slimy at first, but don't worry, it will all get worked in!) When the dough is smooth, add another egg and repeat with all the eggs, stirring well between each addition.

Scoop onto a cookie sheet liked with parchment or a Silpat. (If you don't have a Silpat yet, ask for one for Mother's Day. I don't know how I ever got by without one!) And if you have a Pampered Chef medium scoop or similar gadget, it works great for making nice, even mounds, otherwise, you can use two spoons.

Cook at 400 degrees for 25 minutes, then turn the heat off and let them sit in the hot oven for another 10 minutes or so to dry out the inside.

Once cooled, you can fill them like I did with strawberries and whipped cream, topped with a light dusting of powdered sugar. C'est magnifique!

Experiments in the kitchen

For Easter, I also tried making Cozonac, it's a traditional Romanian bread that they make every Christmas and Easter, so being a little nostalgic, I gave it a try. I found this recipe, but the dough recipe seemed a bit too labor intense for me, so I used this recipe instead and just used the filling recipe from the original one, although I used almonds and almond extract for the walnuts and rum since that's what I had on hand. For my first attempt at Cozonac, it went pretty well, although I think I will try a few things differently when I make it next year.

Then a little while ago, I also made the spinach and carrots brownies from the Deceptively Delicious cookbook. I had wanted to try it out for quite a while but never had any spinach laying around, so when I saw frozen spinach on sale at the grocery store, I picked up a bag and got pureeing! (is that even word?) The result? SUPER YUMMY! They are very moist, very chocolately, and full of vegetable goodness. I made made them for my husband and his brothers and they ate them heartily without even questioning what was in them. My kids also gobbled them up, and the few left over pieces were consumed with equal satisfaction by my parents. So the results are in, you need to TRY THIS RECIPE! (the only change I made is I made a double batch and instead of 4 egg whites, I just used 3 whole eggs.)

Marshmallow Easter Eggs

Yes, I realize that Easter was almost a week ago, but things have been kinda crazy and I haven't been able to blog nearly as much as I would like, so I'm FINALLY getting a few recipes posted! Yeah! This recipe is one that my mom would make almost every year for Easter, so not only is it yummy, but it takes me back to the good old days. And I know that you won't be making this again this year, but remember it and come back to it again next year when you're looking for a fun Easter recipe to try!

Marshmallow Easter Eggs

Ingredients:
2/3 cup Karo Syrup
1/3 cup cold water
1 1/2 envelopes Knox gelatin
1/2 cup sugar
You'll also need a lot of flour or corn starch and something egg-shaped. Before you start making the marshmallow mixture, make the beds for the eggs to form in. To do this, just take a 9 x 13 baking dish and fill it with an inch or two of flour or corn starch, then take an egg-shaped object (could be a plastic egg, I used a hard-boiled egg we colored the night before, just don't use a raw egg!) and press forms into the flour. When that is all done, you can start making the marshmallows!

Dissolve the sugar and gelatin in the water and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Let it boil for a minute or so. Pour the mixture into a mixing bowl. Kitchen-Aids are GREAT for this recipe, but if you don't have one, just use a hand mixer with the wire whisk attachment. Add the corn syrup and start whipping! After a few minutes, it will get opaque and frothy, though still a bit runny. Carefully pour the marshmallow into the egg forms and let it sit for at least an hour or so. It will still be pretty sticky, so flip it over to coat the sticky side with the flour or cornstarch.If you're really ambitious, you can then coat it in melted chocolate too. Either way, they're delicious and you can tell, the kids love them!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Perfectly Chocolate Cake

Today for my son's birthday, I wanted to make him a little cake so that he could blow out some candles, but I didn't want to do another big cake like I did for his birthday party on Saturday, so I looked online for an easy cake recipe that I could half easily, and I found a gem! It was about as easy as using a cake mix and tasted so good! The frosting recipe was tasty too!

HERSHEY'S "PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE" Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • "PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE" CHOCOLATE FROSTING(recipe follows)

Directions:
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.

2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.

3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost with "PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE" CHOCOLATE FROSTING. 10 to 12 servings.

VARIATIONS:
ONE-PAN CAKE: Grease and flour 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Heat oven to 350° F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely. Frost.

THREE LAYER CAKE: Grease and flour three 8-inch round baking pans. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost.

BUNDT CAKE: Grease and flour 12-cup Bundt pan. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 50 to 55 minutes. Cool 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely. Frost.

CUPCAKES: Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups. Heat oven to 350°F. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. Frost. About 30 cupcakes.


"PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE" CHOCOLATE FROSTING

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
2/3 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Indian Naan Bread

Before getting dinner ready tonight, I saw this recipe for Indian Naan Bread and thought I would give it a try. (click here for the recipe) I've only had Naan once before and it was delicious, so I had high hopes that we would be in for a treat tonight.

What I didn't anticipate was my baking stone! With it being in such a hot oven for so long, the heat made all the oils that has been seeping into it over the years rise to the surface and pool up in a thin layer of grease on the top! I had to wipe it clean with a paper towel before I would put the bread on to bake. And every time I would open the oven door, my fire alarm would go off! So that was a bit of a detraction from the whole experience, but it tasted really good and the kids loved it! My baby ate almost a whole piece herself! The dough was very soft and tender, kind of like those large soft pretzels. If I make this again, though, I'll try to find my other stone that hopefully isn't so seasoned!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Birthday cake

We celebrated my son's 4th birthday today with his friends, and he wanted a "green truck cake," so I came up with this idea:I made the road out of crushed Oreo cookies and made little trucks out of snickers (fun-sized and bite-sized). The wheels were Whoppers cut in half, and the head lights and tail lights were mini m&m's. While it's not the fanciest cake ever, I had a lot of fun designing it and putting it together, and the kids at the party loved it too!Happy Birthday Isaac!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Meatball frenzie!

I heard about a segment on Studio 5 last week all about meatballs and creative ways to cook them, so I printed out the recipes and will be trying one of them out tomorrow, haven't decided which one yet. I'll let you know which one wins and how fabulous it tastes! And I'll be sure to take pictures!Click here to see the article and recipes.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Nutty Putty

I haven't been trying as many new recipes this week, so I haven't had as much to blog about, but today I was looking for something to keep Isaac busy. I first came across a few years ago and made it up, but Isaac was too little and didn't enjoy playing with it. Today, though, he had a great time! It's a lot like play dough, just a little bit thicker. The best part? You can snack on the dough while you're playing! The oil from the peanuts gets a little bit greasy though, make sure to wash up really well after play time!Here's the original recipe:

Nutty Putty
3 1/2 cups peanut butter
3 1/2 cups corn syrup
4 cups powdered milk
4 cups powdered sugar

This would make a HUGE batch! The first time I made it, I did half of that, and it still made a huge batch, so today I did a quarter batch and it was just about right. Here's the breakdown:

.8 cups peanut butter (I think it was 210 mL if your measure cup has metric measurements, otherwise just measure half way between 3/4 and 1 cup)
.8 cups corn syrup
1 cup powdered milk
1 cup powdered sugar

Mix with a wooden spoon, then knead to blend well. Store left over putty in fridge covered with plastic wrap.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Octopus and Shells

This is such a fun and easy lunch to make for your kids, and it looks so cute, they'll love it!

To make the octopus:

Take a hot dog and cut it in half. Then take a sharp knife and cut up the length of the hot dog, leaving about an in at the rounded end for the head. Keep rotating and cutting until you have 8 legs.

Boil water in a medium saucepan and drop the cut octopuses into the boiling water and cook until hot.

Serve over shells and cheese!

Shells and Cheese Recipe

Prepare about 1/2 lb. shells pasta according to directions.

While the noodles are cooking, prepare the cheese sauce in a medium saucepan by melting 2 tbls. butter over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of flour and mix until completely blended. Pour in 1 cup of milk and stir well. Keep stirring until thickened, then add 1 cup of shredded cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add cooked pasta and stir until pasta is coated, and serve. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

St. Patrick's Day Recipe Group

I went to my recipe group this week and got some wonderful recipes! The theme was "St. Patrick's Days" recipes so I thought I would share them in case you need ideas for your own celebration! (Kym had a wonderful soup that she made and will be getting us the recipe, and when she does, I'll post that too!)

Main Course (from me)

Corned Beef Casserole

6 cups curly noodles

2 cans Cream of Mushroom Soup

3 tablespoons Onion

3 tablespoons Green Bell Pepper

1 1/3 empty soup can Milk

1 can Corned Beef

2 cups shredded Cheddar Cheese


Cook Noodles.

Break up corned beef in pieces

Add milk, soup, onion and bell pepper. Mix well.

Makes (2) 8x8 casseroles, serves (6) each. (Eat one now, freeze the other for another day!)

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Add cheese and bake another 10 minutes or until bubbly.

Bake frozen casserole at 350 degrees for about 1 hour.


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Bread (from Sally)


Irish Soda Bread


4 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 eggs

1 pint sour cream

1 cup raisins


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease two 8x4 inch loaf pans.

2. Mix the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the eggs, sour cream, and raisins and mix until just combined. Distribute batter evenly between the two pans.

3. Bake loaves for 1 hour.


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Dessert (from Jill)


Cousin Andrea's Famous Cookies


1 stick of butter, softened

1/2 cup shortening

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar


Cream those good, then add:

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat well.


Sift:

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

(add the above to the creamed mixture)


Add 3 cups of Quaker Oats

1/2 bag white chocolate chips

1/2 bag milk chocolate chips

1 full bag Hershey's Toffee Bits


Bake at 350 degrees for 13 minutes.