Sunday, February 28, 2010

Menu Plan Monday-March 1

menubutton


Breakfast/Snacks:
-Lemon Poppyseed Pancakes
-Breakfast cookies
-Blueberry Muffins

Dinner:
-Sausage and Cheese Turnovers with homemade crescent rolls
-Turkey Club Squares
-Stroganoff Melts(on Whole Wheat English Muffins)
-Creamy Chicken Stew
-South Seas Pork Chops with Mango Rice
-Sloppy Chicken Pizza

This is linked to Orgjunkie.com

North Woods Bean Soup

This was an unusual soup that I found on For the Love of Cooking. It used smoked sausage(aka kielbasa). I am always looking for different ways to use it and this peaked my interest. I knew I had one lonely package still in the freezer so onto the menu it went.

North Woods Bean Soup-adapted from For the Love of Cooking

1 qt low sodium chicken broth
2.5 cups water(+1 bouillon cube,if prefered)
2 cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained well
1 pkg smoked sausage
3 carrots, sliced
2 celery stalks, sliced
1 onion, diced
1 tsp each: thyme, basil, and oregano
1 bay leaf
1 tsp garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil

Place carrots, celery, and onion in pot with oil. Saute until light brown. Dump into slow cooker. Sauted sausage with garlic until sausage is lightly browned. Add to cooker along with broth, water, beans, and seasonings, stir. Turn on low for 2 hrs or until heated through. You can also cook this on the stove in a large soup pot.  My cooker then switches to low, so it stayed warm. If left on for a long period of time, your sausage turns a funny color, but still tastes good.

**Despite the sausage being a funny color, it tasted wonderful! Also my inlaws were here for dinner and we ran out the door so I did not get a picture of it! Q LOVED it!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Baked BBQ Ribs

We haven't had ribs in a while so the last time I went to the meat store I picked some up. I finally decided to cook them, but didn't want to use my slow cooker like I usually do. While I like the slow cooker and they come out fabulous this way, I wanted to try something new. Kim at Mac's Kitchen Adventure shared her version, but I also used this recipe from For the Love of Cooking. I did use a homemade bbq sauce that I found on another blog and I will share that...eventually.

Baked Ribs-adapted from Kim and Pam
Ribs(I can't remember how many lbs I had maybe 2-3 lbs)
1 bottle of beer
1/2-1 cup water
bbq sauce
bbq rub


Rub down ribs at least the night before with bbq rub(I used the pampered Chef version). Line bottom broiler pan(or roasting pan) with foil. Place grate over it. Lay ribs on top and top with bbq sauce. They were not completely covered, but I knew as the sauce heated up it would melt down. Pour beer and  into the bottom of the pan. Cover tightly with foil. Place in preheated  250 oven and cook for 3 hrs. Take ribs out, baste with sauce, check to make sure there is enough liquid in the bottom of pan, and place back in the oven for 2 hrs or until done.

These were served with sweet potato fries and cucumbers. K really liked them, I personally think I like them made in the crock pot better.

**sorry no picture, I completely forgot to take one!

Homemade Yogurt

Well I am tired of paying a high premium for whole milk yogurt for Q. I had seen this recipe a while back, so I decided to give it a try. It seems easy enough and so far it is! It is still making itself as I type...Another reason I am making this is I am finding I have been getting headaches from "fake sugar" so out the window that goes. Although I was on a mission to get rid of that too!

Homemade Yogurt-shared from A Year of Slow Cooking
8 cups of whole milk
1/2 cup store bought natural plain yogurt
heavy beach towel

Place milk in slow cooker and cook on low for 2.5 hrs. Unplug slow cooker, leave cover on, and let sit for 3 hrs. After 3 hours scoop out 2 cups of milk and whisk in yogurt. Dump back into slow cooker. Stir to combine.Put lid back on and cover with a heavy thick towel all the way around the crock. Let sit for 8 hrs. In the morning it will be thickened. Not as thick as store yogurt.

*You can add in pureed fruit or serve over fruit. Another option is to use unsweeteend jelly or presevers(Polaner All Fruit)

I have been experimenting with getting the yogurt thicker to no avail. It tastes like yogurt but right now the only thing I'm really able to do with it is make smoothies out of it. It's really to soupy to eat with a spoon...a straw would work well! I have homemade granola that is begging to be eaten with it. I've tried pectin, but that hasn't seemed to help. Does anyone think it needs to be warm so the pectin activates?(i have never used pectin), I could also try gelatin, but the little boy I watch can't have it...so right now I have some sitting in a paper towel/strainer in hopes that will help thicken it and I froze the rest for now. Any other insight is welcome!

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies

While at the grocery store, we ended up going down the cookie aisle. Of course A saw them and wanted some, so I said we could make some cookies when we got home. I wanted oatmeal chocolate chip, he wanted peanut butter. I had only taken out 2 sticks of butter(now of course I could have done oatmeal peanut butter, but I wanted them safe for Q), so I quickly looked up a recipe that didn't need butter. I had my doubts about it, but they taste just like regular cookies but with out all the extra stuff usually required for cookies.

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies-from Tasty Kitchens

1 cup peanut butter
1 scant cup sugar
1 egg

Mix together. Place in rounded tsp on cookie sheet, press down with fork in criss cross on top. Cook for 8-10 mins in preheated 375 degree oven. They will get slightly brown on the outside.

**chocolate chips are optional! but if you do use them make sure they are gluten free!


MckLinky Blog Hop

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I decided to try a new oatmeal chocolate chip cookie...they are good, but very sweet. This of course was AFTER I cut the sugar, I should have cut it down more. So if you do not like overly sweet cookies, I'd cut down the sugar to at least a cup if not less...

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies-adapted from What Megan's Making
1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar(this is what i lowered it to)
1/1/2 sticks of butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
1 1/4 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 bag semi sweet chocolate chips

Mix together brown sugar and butter until creamy. Add in vanilla and egg and mix. Sift together flour, soda, powder and mix in salt. Slowly add flour mixture to butter mix. Mix until incorporated. Fold in oatmeal and chocolate chips. Place on cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 mins until browned.

**Mine were thing and crispy, but that could be do to many factors(warm butter, the weather, pan im using etc) I like them this way so I don't mind!

Roast Beef and Swiss Panini

I had 2 very lonely rolls leftover and I knew I needed to use them up before they went bad. The thing with homemade rolls/breads/muffins is that they do not last as long. So I decided to make a panini...without a panini press.

Roast Beef and Swiss Panini
2 pieces of roast beef per sandwich
1 slice of swiss cheese
half of one roasted red pepper
Dijon mustard
butter
2 whole wheat french rolls
3 cans of...beans, veggies, fruit whatever you may have(also 2 frying pans preferably one smaller than the other.)

Cut rolls in half and flip over. Butter inside of one bread, place in pan. Spread mustard on, followed by red pepper, 1/2 slice cheese, roast beef, and the other half of cheese. Spread mustard on other half of bread(the outside) and place on top. Cover with small frying pan w/ 2-3 cans in it. Let grill for 2-3 mins until golden brown. Move pan off, spread roll with butter, and flip. Place pan back on until golden on the other side.  Let's just say this was absolutely delicious...and yes I ate both sandwiches!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Homemade Playdough

I don't know about anyone else, but I really really dislike the smell of the playdoh you buy at the store. Maybe it was  because A was using it while I was pregnant with Q and it just wasn't agreeing with me, I don't know. Needless to say I do not buy it anymore, we only make the homemade version. I did have some small tubs of it and A calls it the "yucky" playdoh. We had made some a while back and he wanted to use his new cookie cutters today, well when I opened the container it was quite soft, softer than it should be. So the boys playedwith it and then we decided we needed some new dough made, so we made it on this rainy, cold day!

Homemade Play Dough
1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
2 tbsp cream of tartar
1 tbsp cooking oil
1 cup water
food coloring

Mix together the dry ingredients. Add in oil and stir. Mix food coloring and water together.  Pour dry ingredients into a saucepan and slowly add in water while stirring. Turn on the heat and stir until it starts to dry. This should take about 2 mins. Once it clumps remove it from the heat, dump onto cutting board(or table), let cool slightly, and knead it a bit. Let cool and until ready to use. Store in airtight container. ***This is NOT edible.

Kid Help: measure/pour/mix ingredients, pick out and squeeze food coloring.

Official Taste Tester-Bagels


for more wordless wednesday posts check out 5 Minutes for Mom

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Buttermilk Orange Cranberry Muffins

I had some cranberries still frozen in the freezer since Christmas. I love the combo of orange and cranberry in muffins, scones, or bread. I quickly looked up a recipe on Taste of Home. I probably should have looked around more, but this one sounded good...and realized I didn't have enough oj. So I improvised as the dough was very thick without it. The result was a perfectly browned, moist muffin.

Buttermilk Orange Cranberry Muffins- adapted from Taste of Home
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tbsp orange zest
juice of one orange
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup chopped cranberries(fresh or frozen)
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together flour, soda, powder, salt, and sugar. Add in zest, juice, buttermilk,egg, and applesauce. Stir. Fold in cranberries. Divide into muffin tin and cook about 15-20 mins or until toothpick inserted comes clean. I had 24 mini muffins and 6 regular sized muffins.

**Next time I will add more sugar, while they are good they are a bit tart.

Peach Buttermilk Ice Cream

I was reading a new blog this weekend called, Mennonite Girls Can Cook. One of the recipes that caught my eye was Peach Buttermilk Ice Cream. I had all the ingredients on hand so I decided to give it a try. My ice cream maker is something that doesn't get used a lot and I then went on to decide that I'm making homemade ice cream for Q's first birthday, whenever my husband's schedule allows us to celebrate it!

Peach Buttermilk Ice Cream- shared from Mennonite Girls Can Cook
2 cups of buttermilk
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup scant sugar
1 lb frozen peaches
1 tsp vanilla extract

Place peaches in blender and blend into chunks. Mix together sugars, extract, and buttermilk. Add in peaches and pour into ice cream maker. Press start and let run until a soft ice cream forms. Pour into a bowl and freeze.

**This was probably another one my mom gave me funny looks for...but surprisingly we liked it again! I really liked the tang that the buttermilk offered. We did decide it was almost to sweet so if and when I make it again I'll cut down the sugar. You can also use any kind of fruit you would like. Fresh fruit can also be easily used.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Homemade Cran-apple Granola

This is another gem I found on Finding Joy in my Kitchen. Sno White has some fabulous recipes over there so definitely check her out! Although most have made it here...and some I have altered! This is the second time I made this and I cut the sugar and added more applesauce so if you want to see the original by all means check it out! Oh and did I mention this is SUPER easy and low fat!

Homemade Cran-Apple Granola-adapted from Sno White
6 cups old fashioned oatmeal
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix in small sauce pan applesauce, cinnamon, and sugar. Stir until sugar has melted. Scoop sugar mixture onto oatmeal and stir until mixed thoroughly. Mix in cranberries. Spread onto cookie sheet and bake for 10 mins. Stir and bake for another 10 mins. Shut oven off and open the door for granola to crisp up! Place in air tight container.

No Rise Wheat Pizza Crust

I have experimented a lot with pizza crusts. Some I've used with whole wheat flour, some with bread flour, others with a combination of the the two. Sometimes I used my kitchenaid mixer and other times the bread machine. Well after having this one again yesterday I think I've decided we will just stick with this one. Its quick, simple, and mighty tasty. Although, if I do find more I'm sure I am apt to try other recipes, but they are all pretty similar.

No Rise Wheat Pizza Crust-shared from Finding Joy In My Kitchen

1 tbsp yeast
1 cup really warm water
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
1.5 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup flour

Mix together water, yeast, and sugar. Set aside while you measure the flour. Add in oil and salt, stir. Add wet ingredients to flour and mix until combined. Then need on a lightly floured surface until firm. Cover and let dough rest while you get the pizza toppings ready about 10 mins.

Then spread out into pizza form on cookie sheet or pizza stone(circle or square). I always pre-bake mine for 5-8 mins in 400 degree oven. Then I add the toppings and bake for another 10-15 mins until browned.

Carmelized Onion and Apple Pizza

So what happens when you need to feed 3 adults plus one toddler, but your dinner the night before was a "flop" and there isn't enough leftovers! The answer: pizza! It's quick, easy, tasty, and I ALWAYS have the ingredients on hand!  Except I had no meat thawed or veggies except onions...I know Caramelized onions and apples. I think my mom gave me a funny look as I was thinking this out loud...but hey you are a guest and you will eat what I have!

Caramelized Onion and Apple Pizza- created by me!

1 recipe for No Rise Wheat pizza dough
Bbq sauce
2 onions,halved and thinly sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 apple, thinly sliced
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese

Place oil in pan, and heat until warm. Add in onions and cook until soft and brown, turning as needed. This does take a while, but the flavor is worth it. I didn't time it, but I'm guessing 20 mins.

Meanwhile you can make your dough!

Once dough is complete, spread into a circle on pizza stone or onto a cookie sheet (ok your pizza can also be square). Place in 400 degree oven for 5-8 mins.  Spread with bbq sauce...I didn't put a measurement on this because I didn't measure it. I just spread it out to our liking. Cover with cheese, onions, and thinly sliced apples. Cook for another 10 mins until golden brown and cheese is melted.
The verdict: It was delicious! Even my mom who didn't think it would be thought it was good! It was a different take that I really enjoyed and not heavy in the least bit!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

menubutton

Breakfast:
-Sausage Egg sandwiches on homemade english muffins

Dinner:
-Chicken Lo Mein with Homemade noodles
-Baked Ribs 
-Mac and Cheese(Friday)
-North Woods Soup

Snacks:
-Orange Cranberry Muffins
-Homemade Yogurt
-Breakfast Cookies
-Peach Buttermilk Ice Cream

This was shared over at Org Junkie.

Whole Wheat English Muffins

I have been wanting to try this recipe since I saw it on Finding Joy In My Kitchen. The recipe was fairly easy to make and the result was delicious! We had a couple freshly baked or should I say griddled and we made some breakfast sandwiches for breakfast with them this morning!

Whole Wheat English Muffins- adapted from Finding Joy in my Kitchen
1 cup warm water
1/2 cup warm milk
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp butter, melted
2 tsp yeast
2 tsp honey

Combine water, milk, salt, and honey. Then add in 2 cups of flour and yeast. Mix until wet dough forms. Cover and let rise until doubled about 1 hr. When dough has doubled add in the rest of the flour and butter.

Roll dough out onto surface that has been lightly covered in cornmeal. You may need to kneed in extra flour to get the tackiness down...I know I did. Sno White has some wonderful pictures... I was covered in dough so I didn't get the pics taken!  Try not to over knead as this will deflate the bubbles. Roll dough until about 3/4 of an inch thick and cut into circles using a circle cookie cutter, biscuit cutter, or a glass. Place on cookie sheet and let rise 20-30 mins.

Preheat griddle to 350...mine does not have a temperture gage so I just wanted for it to warm up. Butter griddle and place muffins on top.
Cook for 10-15 mins until golden brown and flip. Cook for another 10-15 mins until cooked through.

Pasta...NOT for me!

So I tried my hand at homemade pasta last night...boy was it a site to see! My mom sat at the table with Q and was having a very good laugh. I think I got a little over zealous and made WAY to much. I figured if I was doing it once I'd make some extra and freeze it. Well I barely got through enough for dinner so I stopped and frozen the rest of the dough.  Not sure how that will work out, but I just did NOT have the patience for it anymore.

The verdict: my mom said they looked like octopus tentacles...and wanted to know if it was something I'd eat as a kid. Then she proceeded to ask if I'd eat it if my dad gave it to me. My answer to that would have been no because knowing him it would have been octopus. A on the other hand ate the whole bowl I gave him. We liked it, but I did not roll the dough as thin as it needed to be and it plumbed up a lot...they also were NOT uniform or even thin like spaghetti.

I also lost 2 eggs after the egg box decided to jump off the table...I had egg everywhere. Oh the mess I made and it was very time consuming to me. I also used half whole wheat and half regular flour and that may have been where I went wrong too. I am sad to report that until I have the money to purchase an attachment to the kitchen aid or buy a pasta maker, this will be one thing I still eat from a box. It was a good experience though, but not one I have the patience for!

If you would like to try it yourself there are great resources for you to try...so check out my fellow bloggers on how to make your own noodles.

Pioneer Woman

Finding Joy In My Kitchen

Sloppy Joe Casserole

This has become one of my all time favorite casseroles. It freezes very well and is hearty. It's so yummy...I made it for my brother's in law for christmas. I altered the veggies because one of them doesn't eat green veggies. I wasn't about to take all this time to make them food and then they don't eat it. I used frozen corn and it made it WAY to sweet...so seriously use the mixed veggies!

Sloppy Joe Casserole

1 Recipe for sloppy joes
1 16 oz pkg frozen mixed vegetables
prepared mashed potatoes

Mix together sloppy joes and veggies. Top with mashed potatoes and bake in 350 degree oven for 20-25 mins until warmed through.

To make mashed potatoes, peel and chop potatoes. Place in a pot of water and bring to a boil. Let boil 10-15 mins until fork tender. Drain. Add in butter, milk, and seasoned salt. This is done by taste...and mash.

Seriously Good Sloppy Joes

I love sloppy joes and they are a quick and easy meal. They are usually also very kid friendly. A while ago Kim at Mac's Kitchen Adventure's shared with me this recipe. Let's just say we will never go back to the canned version again!

Sloppy Joes

1 lb ground meat(turkey, beef, chicken)
1 onion, minced
1 green pepper, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp vinegar
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp black pepper

Brown meat with onion, garlic, and gr. pepper. Drain. Add in the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 15 mins.

**I have used 2 tbsp more of ketchup instead of tomato paste and has been fine.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes

Last night my sister stated that she wanted pancakes...they sounded really good probably because I was hungry. I really wasn't up to making them at 9 at night, so I made them for breakfast. They sure did hit the spot. I never used buttermilk on a regular basis, but I do think it will become a staple in our house. It is low in fat(even no fat) and makes everything fluffy and delicious.

Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes
2 cups buttermilk(or 2 pkg dry buttermilk w/2 cups water)
2 tbsp light olive oil(or canola)
2 tbsp sugar
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup flour
2 eggs
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

Mix together flour, salt, soda, powder, sugar(and powdered buttermilk, if using). Add in egg, water(or buttermilk), and oil. Mix until moistened, DO NOT OVERMIX. Ladle onto preheated griddle. Sprinkle with blueberries. Wait until bubbles start to form on top and flip. Cook until golden brown. Serve with butter and real maple syrup.

K and I both loved them...the boys as it goes with kids didn't eat much. I don't get it...These would also be great with chocolate chips, bananas, or any topping of your choice!

*I doubled this recipe and had about 30 pancakes. Cal-87 fat 1.5 g

Broccoli Cauliflower Cheese Soup

Now that it is the beginning of Lent, I've had to look from some new meatless dinners for Friday night. Little did I know that technically chicken broth counts...but I was still craving this soup. K is NOT a fan of broccoli and he is NOT allowed to voice that opinion in front of the boys. I on the other hand LOVE it and actually craved it while I was pregnant with Q. But I figured there was cheese in it so K would like it. The original recipe comes from For the Love of Cooking, but I had some cauliflower to use up so I added it!

Broccoli Cauliflower Cheese Soup- adapted from For The Love Of Cooking

1 head cauliflower,chopped
8 oz sharp cheddar cheese,shredded
1 qt chicken broth
2 cups milk
2- 9 oz pkg frozen broccoli
1 onion, chopped
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
salt and pepper

Place cauliflower in 2 cups of stock and steam. Once fork tender, mash with a potato masher.  In the bottom of a stock pot(can use the same one you use for the cauliflower, just move it to another bowl). Melt butter and add in onion, let cook for about 5 mins until softened. Sprinkle in flour and let sit for 1 min. Slowly add in milk and broth stirring constantly until thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Add in cheese and stir until melted. Drop in broccoli and simmer until tender. Add in cauliflower and stir until warmed through. This is delicious served with whole wheat french rolls.

**My soup did not thicken as much as I would have liked, but I did cut down the butter/flour. It was still delicious. You can keep the cauliflower in whole pieces vs. the mashed, I was just trying to hide it. Also make sure you use block cheese and shred it yourself. I find the previously shredded kind you buy in the store does not melt well and it becomes...chewy I think is the right word I'm going for. It just gives it a chunkier texture than a smooth one. And go ahead and splurge on the high fat, extra sharp cheddar cheese. It is SO worth it! This does re-heat well!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Whole Wheat French Bread Rolls

This is another new recipe that I came across one day while reading Mommy's Kitchen. I have been trying new bread/roll recipes until I find one I really like. This one was really good and I like it so much better than the other roll recipe I had been making. I baked 1/2 the batch and frozen the other 1/2.

Whole Wheat French Bread Rolls-adapted from Mommy's Kitchen

1 1/2 cups warm water(about 115 degrees F)
1 tbsp instant yeast
2 tbsp white sugar
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 cups bread flour
2 cups whole wheat flour

Combine water, yeast, and sugar. Let stand for 10 mins until creamy. Meanwhile combine flour and salt and stir. After 10 mins mix oil with yeast mixture. Place mix into your stand mixer fitted with your dough hook and set to low. Slowly add in the flour until dough pulls away from the side of the bowl.  Turn speed up to medium and let dough mix until it is smooth and elastic. Cover with plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray and damp towel. Let rise for 1 hr or until doubled.

Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and divide into 16 sections(I think I got about 14). Shape into round rolls. Place on cookie sheet and cover again with damp towel and let rise for 40 mins(should be about doubled). Place in 400 degree oven for 18-20 mins or until golden brown.

**You can also place them in a 9X13 pan and bake them as well. This will yield a softer roll. I baked about half of the rolls and flash froze the other half. To flash freeze rolls, place on cookie sheet after you shape them and pop them into your freezer for about 30 mins and then place them into a zip top bag or other container. To use frozen rolls, thaw, then let rise until double their size and cook as normal.

Kid's Help: shaping dough, running the stand mixer, pour in ingredients, adding flour.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Whole Wheat Bagels

I realized last night that I feel I'm failing you...I wasn't really making new recipes that didn't come from a box. Well do not worry my friends, I took care of that with 4 new recipes today.  I have been really wanting to try to make homemade bagels I just hadn't done it yet. These are not hard, but they do have a few steps to them and look daunting at first. But overall they are fairly simple

Whole Wheat Bagels- adapted from Prevention's The Healthy Cook

2 cups whole wheat flour(+up to another 1/2 cup)
1 cups flour
1 1/4 cups very warm water(110-115 degrees F)
1 pkg or 2 1/4 tsp active dry(or instant) yeast
2 tsp+1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
water
1 egg white, beaten + 1 tbsp cold water
2 tbsp of your choice-poppyseeds, sesame seeds, or cinnamon sugar

In stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, place 2 cups flour, salt, yeast, and 2 tsp sugar. Turn on and mix while gradually pouring in warm water. Keep mixing until a smooth elastic ball forms.(It should clean the side of the bowl, if not add more flour 1 tbsp at a time). Cover bowl with damp towel and place in warm spot. Let rise about 1 hr or until it doubles in size.

About 20 mins before rising is done, fill large stock pot with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a gentle boil.

Grease cookie sheet with non-stick spray. Turn dough onto lightly floured(or greased) surface and gently need to release air bubbles. Divide dough into about 16 equal pieces(i had 13). Roll each piece into a ball and flatten with your hand. Poke hole in center and place over finger and twirl, once hole has been open, place bagel on cookie sheet. Cover dough with damp towel and let rise for 10 mins.**Do not let them over rise as this will cause them to fall during baking.

Place 2-4 bagels at a time into boiling water. (This will depend on the size of your bagels and the size of your pot). You do not want to over crowd them or cause the water to drop below boiling. Let boil for 30 secs, flipping once. Place bagels back onto sheet and continue.

Brush with egg white and top with your choice of topping. Place in oven at 375 for 20-25 mins until golden brown.















Kid's Help: rolling dough into balls, flattening, poking holes, and spinning. they can also help brush on egg white and sprinkle on topping.

I will definitely make these again, but double the recipe so I can freeze them. They are delicious! I hope to try them with cinnamon raisin flavor and other flavors down the road.



**excuse the funny layout, someday I will figure out how to line things up!

Batch Cooking-Beans

09b70c13.jpg Dry Beans Mixed image by maggiesmindblogpics
One thing I had never used/cooked were dry beans. I do not know why these tiny beans that can be found so cheap were so daunting to me. Sure I've used them plenty of times for arts and crafts and in a texture table for preschoolers...but I ALWAYS bought the canned beans. Boy, was I paying a premium!

While reading through A Year of Slow Cooking, I stumbled upon how to use your crock pot to cook the beans. It is so easy really, you may be kicking yourself for never trying it before.

First, buy a bag of beans. Any kind will do, I have done black beans and garbanzo (aka chick peas) I get the store brand, its $1 for 1 lb. Take this bag and open it up. Dump bag in crock pot( I have used both a 5.5 and 6 qt). Search through them and take out any non bean items(I've yet to find any) and any split beans. Cover the beans with water. Let sit for 6-8 hrs or overnight. In the morning, drain off the water and fill again about 2 inches above the beans. Turn crock pot on low for 6-8 hours(depending on the bean and your cooker) 6 hours works best in my cooker for black beans. Once they are done, drain again and divide.

But what if I don't need 1 lb of cooked beans? EASY! Measure them in 1 2/3 cup increments and place in either a zip top bag, container, or what I've been using press and seal. Wrap/seal and they can go right in the freezer. Then when you need them, just pop them out of the freezer and pop them right into your soup(or thaw for other recipes.) This is the only way I use beans now...and you are cutting down large amounts of sodium AND saving a bundle. After all, 1-1lb bag will give you 3-4 "cans". 1 can in the store can cost you 75 cents...unless you hit a good sale!

Needless to say we do eat a lot of beans now!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Baker in Training....





linked to 5 Minutes for Mom















Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Mexican Stuffed Shells

I found this recipe for Black Bean and Spinach Egg Rolls while searching for vegetarian recipes. I watch a little boy 2 days a week and have to provide lunch for him. I wanted to be creative so when I stumbled upon this I immediately put them on our menu. The egg rolls themselves are one of the best things I have ever had and one of my favorite dishes. I have been wanting to make them again, but I keep forgetting the wrappers so I decided to try this recipe.

Mexican Stuffed Shells

26 shells, cooked according to pkg
1 can black beans, rinsed, drained(or 1 2/3 cup cooked dry beans)
2 cups frozen corn, thawed
2 cups reduced fat Mexican cheese, divided
1 pkg chopped frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2-3/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 jar salsa
1 pt roasted cherry tomatoes

Mix together beans, spinach, 1 cup cheese, corn, and spices. Place tomatoes and salsa in blender or food processor. Blend until smooth.  Spread some sauce on the bottom of the pan.  Spoon mixture into shells. Place sauce over shells and cover with 1 cup cheese.  Place in 350 degree oven for 30-35 mins.


**if you are not a fan of spicy food I would tone down the cayenne and chili powder. My spice tolerance must be getting better as they border lined spicy for me, but it didn't last long. The tomatoes aren't really needed, but I needed to use them up. You can also use a can of diced or more salsa.



Kid's Help: count out shells, measure spices, wash tomatoes

Roasted Tomatoes


I came across a recipe at some point that roasted cherry or grape tomatoes. I could eat tomatoes raw, but by roasting them they become very sweet and delicious! As I was roasting these up for dinner tonight, I had to restrain myself from eating. them. all. You can of course use more than 1 pt of tomatoes and it works just as well big tomatoes.

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

1 pt (or more) cherry or grape tomatoes
olive oil
salt and pepper

Place rinsed tomatoes on a cookie pan. Drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place in 400 degree oven for 10-15 mins until tomatoes start to pop and shrivel. Enjoy!(pictures to come)

My First Award!!

I want to thank Hallee over at Hallee The Homemaker for awarding me my first award. It's the....

Blog Award: Sunshine Award

I love Hallee's blog and read it often. She is a great inspiration to me and I encourage everyone to go check her out!

Here are rules for the award:
-Put the logo on your blog or in your post
-Pass the award onto 12 bloggers.
-Link the nominees in your post.
-Let the nominees know about this award by commenting on their post.
-Share the love and link the person who gave you this award.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Chunky Monkey Smoothie

I have been on a smoothie kick lately, but I'm always looking for new ideas instead of the same ol' same ol'. I came across a Chunky Monkey Smoothie from Cooking During Stolen Moments. The first time we had it, we LOVED it. Now I've modified it and its even more delicious!

Chunky Monkey Smoothies

3 cups light chocolate soy milk
3 frozen bananas
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter(approx)
1/4 to 1/2 cup light vanilla yogurt

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth!

**you can also use regular chocolate milk.

Meal Planning Monday

menubutton


Breakfast:
-I don't usually have anything planned except maybe for the weekend. I tend to be boring and have oatmeal in one form or another.

Dinner:
  • Broccoli Cheese Soup
  • Sloppy Joe Casserole
  • Chicken Bruschetta Bake
  • Chicken Lo Mein
  • Ginger Pork chops, mashed potates,broc/cauliflower/carrots w/cheese sauce
  • North Woods Soup
  • Parmesan Crusted Cod, Sweet Potatoes Fries, veggie(Friday)
  • Chicken Pot Pie
Snacks(could also be served as breakfast)
These are in no particular order and we may not even get to all of it. Then it will just be moved to the following week. I seem to forget that we have to eat on the weekends and my husband is usually home then. We will also be attending soup night at church on Wednesday. My husband is also not home for dinner so I can pretty much gurantee all of this won't be cooked, so less  work for me the following week!

This menu was shared at orgjunkie

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Oatmeal Pie Crust

This recipe was also found on Finding Joy In My Kitchen. I recently found a healither version of a graham cracker crust so I used part of that recipe with SnoWhite's. It seemed to work well...and it does taste pretty good.(Yes I just ate my dessert before my dinner!) It doesn't have a flaky texture of a normal pie crust, its more chewy, but it seems to work in this recipe. You can of course always revert the the original.

Oatmeal Crust- adapted from Finding Joy In my Kitchen

1/4 cup flour
1/2 whole wheat flour
1/2 cup quick cook oatmeal
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp light olive oil
2 tbsp light vanilla yogurt
4 tbsp ice cold water






Mix together flours, oatmeal, and salt. Slowly drizzle in oil, mix in yogurt. Add in water until dough becomes sticky. Place in greased pie pan and press out using wax paper. Fill with filling of your choice.



**To prebake: pierce dough with fork several times and place in oven at 400 degrees for 10 mins or until golden brown.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

I have been dying for a yummy dessert and seen as its valentine's day I decided to splurge...a little anyway. I was reading Sno White's blog and she had some delicious looking recipes up. I had decided I wanted to try the Amazing Baked Fudge, but I then went and gave my valentine, K the option of the fudge or a cookie pie, of course he picked the pie! So here is my version.

PB chocolate Chip Cookie Pie- adapted from Finding Joy In My Kitchen

4 tbsp melted butter, cooled
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 egg, well beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup each peanut butter and chocolate chips
1 unbaked pie crust(recipe to follow)

Cream together sugar, butter, egg, and vanilla. Add in flour. Mix well. Fold in chips and place into pie crust. Bake for 30-35 mins at 350.(originally the recipe calls for 40-45, but mine was done early!)It should still be gooey.(I do have pictures and will add them as soon as they are uploaded.)

Chicken Pot Pie 1

I found one lonely piece of a pie crust that I bought and wanted to use up, so I decided to make a chicken pot pie. I only had one, so I put a layer of mashed potatoes as the bottom crust. K and I decided we wanted the flaky crust for the top! (Beware there are a couple processed foods in this pie, but you can easily use homemade versions!)

Chicken Pot Pie

2 cups diced cooked chicken
1 stalk of celery, sliced
1-2 cups chopped carrots(I chopped some baby ones)
1 onion, chopped
1 can of low fat/sodium cream of mushroom
1/2 can milk
1 bag of frozen peas
1 pie crust
2 cups prepared mashed potatoes
pepper
Italian seasoning

Heat skillet with 2 tsp olive oil, once warm add in carrots, onion, and celery. Saute until soft. Add in chicken, soup, and milk. Cook until heated through. Season to taste. Add in frozen peas.  In a 2 qt casserole dish(or pie pan), layer in mashed potatoes. Top with pie filling and cover with pie crust and seal. Poke holes(or design in top). Bake at 350 for 40-50 mins or until heated through and crust is golden brown

**This can be easily frozen for later use!

Garlic Ginger Glazed Pork

I had recently bought some fresh ginger root for another recipe and forgot I had some pork chops in the freezer, so when I found this recipe I knew it would be perfect! K gave it a 10, must have been pretty good!

Garlic Ginger Glaze-shared from For the Love of Cooking

1 tsp cornstarch
2 tbsp soy sauce
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup honey
1/2 tsp fresh ginger root, grated
1/2 tsp water
sliced green onion, for garnish
4-6 pork chops

Mix cornstarch and soy sauce until smooth, pour into sauce pan. Add in garlic, ginger, water, and honey. Whisk together. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and let thicken.

Season pork with salt and pepper. Place in hot pan until browned about 5 mins, flip and cook another 5-8 mins until cooked through. Once pork has been flipped brush with glaze, flip and brush the other side with glaze. We served this with mashed potatoes and broccoli,cauliflower,carrot mix with cheese sauce.

**This would also work great on chicken or beef.

Kitchen Tip: not sure what to do with the entire ginger root? as most recipes do not require much it can be easily stored! Peel ginger root using the edge of a spoon. Wrap root up wax paper or any freezer safe material. Place in zip top bag and place in freezer. Now when you need only a little, take frozen ginger out and grate what you need and pop it back in the bag.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is another delicious find! K has eaten 3 since he's been home for hour. In the words of A, they are "not bad". Clearly he has been around me and K to much! To me they are outstanding!

Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies- shared by For the Love of Cooking

1 very ripe banana
1/2 scant cup brown sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 lge egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups quick cook oatmeal
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup raisins
3/4 cup pecans(optional)

In large mixing bowl, combine butter, banana, vanilla, sugar, and egg. Mix thouroughly. Add in flour, soda, salt, and oats. Mix to combine. Fold in raisins, nuts, and chips. Bake at 350 for 13 to 15 mins until they are brown and set.

**In the oringal post it looks like her cookies flatten more than mine did. Mine basically stayed the same "ball" they went in as. I use a scoop so all my cookies are essentially the same size. Chances are I'll have to make more tomorrow as I do not think these will last very long!

Coconut Banana Muffins

I have been really wanting to make banana something...but usually all the bananas get eaten before I can make anything with them. So this week I bought extra bananas and of course they are VERY ripe. While doing my usual blog hopping, I came across this blog and found TWO delicious sounding recipes. Here is one of them!

Coconut Banana Muffins- adapted from For the Love of Cooking

1 Cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup splenda brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 egg or 1/4 cup egg substitute
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup light vanilla yogurt
1 tsp vanilla
2 lge ripe bananas,mashed
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup walnuts, crushed a bit(optional)

In large mixing bowl, combine yogurt, applesauce, egg, bananas, and vanilla mix together. In another bowl, combine flour, soda, powder, salt, and sugar. Stir. Slowly add into wet ingredients, becareful not to over mix. Fold in coconut and walnuts. Divide into muffin pan(s). Cook in 350 degree oven for 13-15 mins until toothpick comes clean.(the original recipe said 20-22 mins, but mine were done earlier). This made 12 regular muffins and 12 "baby" muffins.

NOTE TO SELF: when making muffins with no oil in them, kindly remember to spray mini muffin tin. Normally I do not have a problem with them sticking as I have 2 non-stick pans, but this was the first time no oil/fat was used and they stuck a bit. I do NOT enjoy cleaning my muffin pans so I tend to use paper cups.

Kids Help: It seems that in a lot of these recipes they are doing the same thing time and time again...I feel I am repeating myself a lot. So Kids Help will return when there is something different for them to do. I am sure by now you can see what you child can help with!

**I think they are a little too sweet. While I normally use regular sugar I have a bag of splenda brown sugar that I want to use up, so from time to time you may see splenda pop up! K thought they were fine and he is usually the one that doesn't like sweet things. So if you want to use less splenda I'd cut it down to 1/4 of a cup. I will also use coconut extract instead of vanilla as well, K couldn't taste the coconut, but knew something was in them!




Where to begin...

I was asked by a fellow reader on where to begin in the transition from boxes to kitchen. My answer is to start small and work your way up! Have little goals in mind and eventually you will find how easy it is taking it step by step and it will be old habit by the time you are done converting!

I am not exactly sure where my journey started or if it was with one particular food. As I've sat here thinking about it the first food was probably store bought cookies! To me those are probably the easiest to make and I always seem to have the ingredients on hand and a great place for kids to help. All kids LOVE cookies. There are so many recipes out there to try, but this was about Christmas time so I was making a lot of homemade goodies.

The bread department was another place I stopped buying in. I received a bread maker for my birthday from my mom and immediately started using it.(She even got me a bag of bread flour to go with it, isn't she thoughtful). You can also easily use a stand mixer to mix your dough. If you have either of these it is easy to whip up some homemade dough that is very versatile in its use. Of course, you can always use the mixing pads God gave you, they are quite helpful! Pizza tends to be our go to meal because the ingredients are always handy.

Another place you could start is by looking at what you eat the most of. I loved the packets of rice/sauce and noodles in sauce, but I knew those were deadly in the sodium category. So I slowly stopped buying them. I do sure miss my parmesan noodles or the broccoli cheese rice, but I know there are homemade recipes for both and they taste 10 times better.

Other areas to start: frozen pizza, frozen meals( aka-Lean Cuisine, Stouffer's, etc), Hamburger Helper, canned soup, muffins, pre-seasoned meats, salad dressing, etc.

I do still have a couple of things I buy at the store : cereal, goldfish/crackers, pasta sauce, to name a few. I have seen some recipes for crackers, graham crackers, english muffins, bagels, and pretzels. They are on my list of items to try and I can't wait to try them. They will be judged by A and Q and if they like it chances are you will too!

You will see come Monday that I have a couple of things that will have...gasp...processed food in them! Why you ask? Well as I was going through my pantry and fridge I discovered a few stragglers so I've decided to just use them up. Sure using processed foods won't kill me for one or two meals. Believe me everything you buy in the store can be made at home!

So if you have started this journey, what was the first thing you eliminated? If you haven't started yet, what is the first item you will start with? I look forward to hearing your answers!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Valentine Cupcakes OR Strawberry Muffins

I discovered this recipe one year when I went strawberry picking and ended up with 10 lbs or more strawberries. I got home and hulled and sliced them all...and wasn't sure what to do with them. I found this and it is delicious. I have since altered quite a bit, but the original recipe will be linked so you can see what it looks like. I was attempting pink muffins for v-day and I knew I didn't have any red food coloring as I used it in Red Velvet Cookies. They are not quite as pink as I would like, but the pink buttercream frosting will help!

Valentine Cupcakes-
adapted from All Recipes

2 cups of fresh or frozen strawberries, sliced
1.5 cups flour
1.5 cups + 2 tbsp whole wheat flour
1.5 scant cup of sugar
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
4 eggs, beaten(i used 1 cup of egg substitute)
1 1/4 cups chopped pecans(optional)

Place strawberries in bowl and lightly sprinkle with a little sugar. Combine flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and sugar. Blend in oil, eggs, and applesauce. Add in strawberries and stir. Stir in pecans. Divide into muffin tins and bake at 350 degrees for 20-22 mins or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Kid Help: measure/pour/mix, line muffin tins, help slice strawberries using strawberry slicer, or they may just jump on the back of the couch and watch YOU do it all!.


**this can also be made into 2 bread loafs and allow them to cook for 45-50 mins. I have also made it in a bundt pan as I do not own 2 bread pans.


While these are great on their own, I have some leftover buttercream frosting that I will have to use up. So I took 1 cup of frozen strawberries and thaw them. Sprinkle 1 tsp of powdered sugar on them and then mash/blend them to make juicy. I will then add it to the frosting for a nice pink tint and frost away! While this has the option to be successful, I'm not convince that it is. The strawberries made the frosting very "soupy". I still topped them and stuck them back in the fridge. I think I like them best plain...but not everything in my kitchen can be successful! But perhaps you will have better luck! It could also be that I've cut out a lot of sugar so maybe the frosting is just to sweet for me and I LOVE frosting!

**I have been trying to take pictures of food and well I need more practice. I will post pictures if I am able too. Sometimes having a kid helper I can't get good shots!

Blog Stuff...

Well I think tonight will be a leftover night..unless I change my mind between now and then. But I do think I will be posting recipes AFTER I make them, so if I need to make any changes I can do it then and give a review.

I wanted to acknowlege that I was NOT the creative one to come up with the title of my blog and I wanted to give credit where credit was due. So Lori at Teacher Turned Mommy and I Smiled Today gets all the credit! Make sure you check out her two blogs about becoming a sahm after being a kindergarten teacher for 10 years and also when she takes time out to realize the little things in life are worth smiling about. She also has a Tasty Tuesday edition each week where she tries a new recipe and reviews it. Thank you so much for your creativity Lori!

One other person I want to highlight and thank is Hallee over at Hallee the Homemaker. She is my true inspiration to get out of the box and into the kitchen. I saw what she was doing with two young boys and a husband stationed in Afganistan. I thought there is no reason why I can't do this. She has some absolutely amazing recipes and very insightful, thoughtful blog posts. One of my favorites that I use ALL.THE.TIME. is her recipe for buttercream frosting. It is simply to die for and tastes exactly like the one we get at the local bakery. Needless to say, I make my own now and its quite easy. It beats the stuff in the cake any day!

And one more blog to enjoy. My dear friend, Amy, just started her own healthy cooking blog, so make sure to check her out as well!

If there is anything you would like to see on here please feel free to let me know! I am always up for suggestions on what to make and love ideas!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Homemade Kettle Corn

I never thought that I could make this at home! I LOVE this stuff and always get a huge bag at the fair and its usually gone within days. This really does taste just like real stuff. I'm not exactly sure how healthy it is, but popcorn is a very healthy snack!

Kettle Corn
-adapted from Joy the Baker

1/2 cup popcorn
1/4 cup canola oil
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt.

We own a Whirly Pop and if you LOVE popcorn this is a great investment! Mix together sugar and salt. Place oil in whirly pop, drop in pop corn, stir so that the oil coats the popcorn. This is key so that the sugar doesn't burn. sprinkle sugar/salt over kernals. stir stir stir until popcorn has popped. Such a tasty treat!

If you do not own a whirly pop, you can easily do this in a big kettle on your stove. Let oil heat up, sprinkle in popcorn, top with sugar and close the lid. wait for the first kernals to pop and then grab hold of the lid and shake, shake, shake. Place back on stove for a few mins and then continue to shake.(ok Joy might explain it better!)

Ours does have a slight burn mark on the bottom of the pan that is why you will need to use all the oil!(ive tried to use less and well it didn't work!)

Italian Wedding Soup-updated!


We love this soup...but I've never made it from scratch before. While I was reading my daily addiction of blogs, I found a recipe for one. This is what we are having for dinner tonight, hopefully its good because I will also be feeding my in laws with it. It will be served with homemade breadsticks! YUM!  This is linked over at my friend Amy's blog Home Cookin' Healtified where it is Slow Cooker Sunday!

Italian Wedding Soup- adapted from Finding Joy in My Kitchen

Meatballs:
1 lb ground turkey
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese,grated
palmful of italian seasoning and garlic powder
1 tsp parsley
pepper to taste

Combine ingredients and shape into small balls. Cook in pan until browned.

Soup:
4 cups of chicken broth
baby carrots, chopped to equal 1-2 cups
3 celery stalks, sliced
1 onion, diced
4 cups of water
2 bouillon cubes
9-10 oz box of frozen spinach, thawed, strained
1/4 cup small pasta(ill be using alphabet noodles)
1 egg(optional)
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese(optional)

Place broth, water, bouillon, and veggies in 5.5 quart slower cooker. Cook on low 8 hrs or high 4 hrs or until veggies are tender. 30 mins before serving add in pasta, spinach, and meatballs. Stir. Dish into bowls and serve with Garlic breadsticks.

**This was a delicious and easy soup...ok so the meatballs to me were a bit labor intensive, but sometimes I just do not have the patience for meatballs, but it was so worth it in the end. Next time I'll pop them in the oven to cook vs. cooking them on the stove top. Just takes less effort...
The pasta did take longer than 30 mins to cook, so depending on what kind of pasta you use, I'd drop it in an hour before, if possible. You could also cook it on the stove top and then add it in. I also ended up using 2/3 of of the pasta and could probably really use more!

Kid Help: Measure/stir/pour, and if you are lucky they might like to roll the meatballs. A made a heartshaped one!

Enjoy!

also linked to What's in your crockpot?

Soft Garlic Breadsticks-updated!

I love garlic breadsticks especially from Olive Garden. So I decided to try this new recipe tonight to go along with the Italian Wedding Soup. I always love a "dunker" to go with soup.

Soft Garlic Breadsticks-
adapted from All Recipes
1 cup plus 2 tbsp warm water
2 tbsp evoo or canola oil
3 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
2 tbsp sugar
4 tsp garlic powder
4 tsp italian seasoning(this might be too much!)
1.5 cups bread flour
1.5 cups wheat flour
2 tsp instant yeast
  • Place ingredients in bread maker as listed(or suggested by manufacturer). Select dough setting. check on dough 5 minutes into cycle to make sure its not to wet or too dry.(add 1-2 tbsp water OR flour if needed)
  • When cycle is complete roll out onto floured surface. divide into 20 pieces. Shape into a ball and roll into a long rope. Place on greased cookie sheet, cover and let rise for 40 mins or until doubled. 
  • Bake at 350 for 18-22 mins or until golden brown.
**These breadsticks were soft and delicious! K said it smelled like he walked into Olive Garden when he got home! The boys gobbled them up and I had 2..they made a perfect addition to the soup! You can lower the amounts of italian seasoning, if you prefer.

Kid Help: measure/pour ingredients, help roll dough into balls then ropes.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Bread Making-Rising

I have delved into the world of making my own bread, dough, rolls, English muffins...anything that requires a dough! One easy way of doing this is by purchasing a bread maker. I received one for my birthday from my mom and I can honestly say I've used it quite a bit! I LOVE homemade bread...at least the first slice that is from the still warm bread with a little butter on it! That is usually all I eat of the loaf, the kids and K eat the rest or I save it for stuffing or bread crumbs down the road.

Another option is to use your dough hook on your kitchen aid mixer. I have also tried this and its just as easy as a bread maker for the most part...but I learned the hard way that my house isn't warm enough to rise the dough! So I had to open my oven door to get the dough to rise. So needless to say, 9 times out of 10 I use the bread maker.

But for those of you who don't have a bread maker and still want fresh homemade bread with simple ingredients either using the stand mixer or the mixers God gave us all, you can rise dough using your oven.
  • Oven Rising: turn oven on for a minute or two. Then shut it off. Place dough inside until dough is doubled. If you can't comfortably place your hand on the oven door, the oven is too hot and you will need to cool it.
  • Cool Rise: Place dough in the fridge for 8-12 hours(or overnight). Do this after the first rise and dough has been shaped. Then cook as usual.
  • This information has been provided by : Bread Machine Recipes she has many other various recipes. She uses her bread machine to make the dough and goes on to tell you how to shape/cook it after that, so this can be easily done by hand or with the stand mixer.

Unstuffed Peppers

-adapted from Taste of Home

-This is what's for dinner tonight! Not on the original plan, but I noticed the peppers were starting to not be as "fresh" so I needed to use them up! I also have some leftover sauce to use as well! I hate throwing food away...this is quick and simple!

3-4 sweet bell peppers, deseeded, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 lb ground meat(ill be using beef)
1-8 oz can of tomato sauce+1 can of water
1 cup uncooked, brown rice
seasonings: italian, garlic, onion, seasoned salt, pepper, chili powder, cayenne, onion powder
1 cup reduced fat shredded cheese

Brown meat and season(see above list), drain. Add in peppers and onions and cook until tender. Add in sauce, water, and addtional seasonings, stir. Bring to a boil, add in rice and stir. Cover and simmer 5 minutes or until rice is cooked through. Top with cheese, cover and let cheese melt.

Kid's Help: measure rice, sprinkle cheese


**you can also use a can of tomato soup or leftover pasta sauce. There are no measurements to the seasoning because I have done it so much that I know how much I need to the way we like it. So make sure to taste test along the way!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins-adapted from Taste Of Home


I love this recipe! It is probably one of my favorite muffin recipes to date! A loves it when I make "baby muffins". He gobbles them right up, not knowing they are very healthy for him. I get about 2 dozen "baby muffins" and 1 dozen regular size muffins. Quick and easy!



Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 scant cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup egg substitute(or 3 eggs)
  • 1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

  • In a bowl, combine the first eight ingredients. In another bowl, combine egg, egg substitute, pumpkin, applesauce and oil; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Stir in chocolate chips.
  • Coat muffin cups with cooking spray; fill two-thirds full with batter. Bake at 400° for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Yield: 2 dozen.
Kids Help: Measure, pour, and stir ingredients. they can also help line the muffin tins and crack eggs...just be sure they don't miss the counter and crack it by it falling on the floor!

Orange Chicken

One of the other things we have done is pretty much given up eating out. This is really because we are on a VERY tight budget. Our menu is extensive some weeks and when Monday rolls around...although it may vary because I have been doing my menu planning on Tuesday/Wednesday, you will see that we try out a LOT of different foods/cuisines. We LOVE chinese...but it doesn't always love us. So I made this delicious dinner this evening and K(my husband) said it was much better than the restaurant! Definately a keeper!

Orange Chicken-adapted from Thoughts of a Wanderer
*sorry no picture as of yet...it was quite beautiful, almost too nice to eat!


Chicken;
2 chicken breasts cut into bite sized pieces
3 tablespoons cornstarch
salt & pepper to taste
olive oil

Sauce:
1 1/2 cup water
1/2  orange, juiced
1 lemon juiced
1/3 cup rice vinegar
2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons chopped green onion(omitted)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 tbsp cornstarch

- Throw chicken pieces, cornstarch, salt and pepper into a large ziplock bag and shake, shake, shake until coated.
- Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a deep skillet over medium heat and cook chicken until done.
- Remove chicken from skillet and wipe out (or use saucepan if your skillet isn’t deep enough). Add ingredients for sauce except for the cornstarch and bring to a slight boil. Add cornstarch to thicken if you like a thicker sauce (I always do this…it makes it feel more decadent and restaurant-like to me). Add chicken pieces into sauce and heat through, about 5 minutes.
- Serve over your choice of rice. We had it over Brown Jasmine rice and sliced cucumbers for a side.

what I did different: 
- added 3 tsbp cornstarch right to the sauce before I added it to the pan. If you have used cornstarch before, it thickens best in cold liquids this kept it from becoming lumpy.
-did not pack the sugar, as we are also watching our caloric intake.
-in a pinch, you can sub white wine vinegar for rice vinegar(something I learned when I forgot the rice vinegar!)
-zest of whole orange


Kid Help: have them shake the bag of chicken to coat the chicken, help squeeze the lemon/orange for the juice, help measure rice/water, and choose a veggie as a side


Next time: I will either bake the chicken pieces or cook them right in the sauce. We didn't feel that frying the chicken really added to the flavor.