Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Honey Oatmeal Bread

I LOVE homemade bread and am always on the lookout for a new recipe. I buy Oat Bran Bread and get the Honey Oat bread at Subway, so when I ran across this recipe http://belleofthekitchen.blogspot.com/ I just had to try it out. It was awesome, I followed the recipe exactly how it was written. It was good warm from the oven with butter and jam on it, and then it was great toast the next day!! This time of year makes me crave homemade bread and freshly made jam....I guess it reminds me of my childhood days when my mom would make homemade bread and we would eat it as soon as it was cool enough to slice without smashing the whole loaf....YUMMO!

Honey Oatmeal Bread
Ingredients:
4-½ teaspoons Active Dry Yeast
½ cups Honey
4 Tablespoons Butter
2-¼ cups Water
1 Tablespoon Salt
2-¾ cups All-purpose Flour
4 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1 cup Quick Cooking Oats
1 whole Egg

Preparation Instructions:
In a medium bowl (or in a saucepan), heat the butter and honey until the butter is melted. Remove from heat and add the water; the mixture should be warm (110-120 degrees). Stir in the yeast and let sit until bubbly, about 10 minutes (this is called making a sponge).
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine salt, yeast mixture, 2 cups whole wheat flour and 1 cup all-purpose flour. With mixer on low, gradually blend liquid into dry ingredients until just blended. Increase the speed to medium, beat for two minutes, occasionally scraping bowl. Gradually beat in the egg and one cup of whole wheat flour to make a thick batter. Continue beating for two minutes. Stir in oats, 1 cup whole wheat flour and 1 cup all purpose flour. Knead till smooth and elastic. Use more flour if dough is too sticky (I usually add about 2/3 cup more).
Place in a greased bowl and cover. Let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Punch the dough down. Turn onto a floured surface; cover with the bowl and let rise for 15 minutes. Shape into two loaves and let rise for 1 hour in greased 9 x 5 loaf pans.
Bake at 350 degrees (F) for 35 to 40 minutes.
I like to rub my loaves of bread with butter after they have been out of the oven for about 10 to 15 minutes, this gives them a glossy look and doesn't taste bad either. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Alfredo Lasagna

I love Autumn time when it gets here even though I complain alot about summer being over too quick and that we never really had a summer. But once the air turns to that crispy coolness but still warm time and the farmers are harvesting their crops, and I harvest my garden, I start craving comfort foods like casseroles and homemade bread. My sister, Linda, had made this Lasagna a few years ago, and it was yummo! so of course I had to grab the recipe from her. I've made this occasionally, but I really like making it at fall time when I have fresh garden zucchini and other veggies to put in it. You can make this as big as you like by adding more layers or using a huge pan, mine ended up being pretty big ( I think it weighed at least 5 pounds...maybe even 10 by the time I got done) I ended up freezing half of it. I also used my Alfredo sauce recipe and doubled the batch, and the noodles still soaked up the extra. I might triple mine if I use the same big pan, and leave some sauce in a saucepan to spoon over individual servings. I served mine with salad, steamed garden beans and crispy french bread! YUMMO!

Alfredo Lasagna
--Lasagna noodles, cooked and drained (I ended up using about 20, I did 5 layers-- I like to top mine with a layer of noodles, 4 noodles across, but adjust according to how many layers you use and how wide your pan is)
--Alfredo Sauce (Jarred or homemade--see my Alfredo sauce recipe in Sauces or chicken Alfredo and double the recipe)
1-15oz. container low fat Ricotta cheese
1 egg
1 cup fresh spinach, chopped (optional)
Grated Parmesan Cheese
Grated Mozzarella Cheese
2 cups cooked and diced chicken
2 cups diced, assorted steamed or roasted vegetables (I used a mixture of broccoli, zucchini, carrots, and red bell peppers-use your choice)
Italian Seasoning
Salt and Pepper

Cook your noodles according to package directions and drain. Make your Alfredo Sauce while noodles cook.
I roasted my zucchini in slices on a cookie sheet and baked for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. I steamed my broccoli and carrots until they were tender/but still slightly crisp. I used canned roasted red peppers and diced them all so they were ready to use when I assembled my lasagna.

I used a rotisserie chicken that I'd bought at the store and diced up, I figured it would be seasoned and would have better flavor--feel free to cook a couple of chicken breasts instead and dice it up.
Next, I placed my ricotta cheese in a mixing bowl along with 1 egg, chopped spinach (if you're using it) 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, about 1/2 teaspoon of dried Italian seasoning (use fresh if you have it and season to taste)  and Salt and Pepper to taste (I use about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper) Stir to combine.
Now that everything is ready, you are ready to assemble... In a lasagna pan (mine is probably 12 x 15) spread about a cup of sauce on the bottom, then lay 4 noodles across the bottom(or 3 depending on your pan) Next, lay 1/2 of your diced chicken evenly over the noodles, drizzle about 1 cup of your sauce over the chicken, (you might need more so your chicken has a good drizzle over it) Sprinkle about a cup of grated mozzarella cheese over the chicken.
Now comes another layer of noodles, then spread 1/2 of the ricotta-spinach mixture over the noodles, then sprinkle half of your diced veggies over that.
Repeat those 2 layers --noodles, chicken/sauce/ cheese, noodles, ricotta/veggies.. then top with your last 4 noodles, then the rest of the sauce (if you have alot go ahead and pour it over, it will soak down the sides. If it's really alot and you don't have enough room in your pan, save in saucepan, and heat up to spoon over individual servings) Then add another cup of grated mozzarella cheese and finally sprinkle 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese on top of that. Cover with a sheet of aluminum foil (I spray mine with non-stick cooking spray, that way the cheese doesn't stick too bad) at this point you can place in your refrigerator until ready to bake, you can even make the day before you are going to serve it.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, and remove the foil and continue to bake for another 15 minutes until hot and bubbly and the cheese is starting to brown slightly OR bake for an hour if it's been in the fridge for very long, taking the foil off the last 15 minutes of baking time.
You can serve with a salad and crispy french bread. ENJOY!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Coconut Pound Cake with Lemon-Mint Glaze

I found this recipe while browsing the Internet the other day and made if for breakfast last Sunday. Served with fresh fruit and yogurt it was just the right breakfast for a Sunday. This was yummy,  I love anything with coconut and lemon..... YUM! I made it just like the recipe said only I poked the top of mine with a toothpick making a hole about every inch or so, this makes it so the glaze can seep down into it. Yummy! I liked the minty glaze but when I didn't tell my family what was in it, they didn't really taste that much mint but I did. I think it would be just as good without it and maybe adding a little more lemon or coconut extract to the glaze. Either way you make it would be delicious!

Coconut Pound Cake with Lemon-Mint Glaze
serves 16

For the Cake:
3 cups cake flour (I used regular flour, and it turned out great)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened but cool
6 ounces cream cheese, softened but cool
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
5 extra large eggs at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
1/4 teaspoon coconut extract
3 Tablespoons unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut, finely chopped
1 teaspoon lemon zest

For the Glaze:
1/2 cup water
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup fresh mint leaves

Preheat to 325ยบ F. Grease and flour a 10-cup Bundt pan or two loaf pans.
For the Cake:Over a sheet of wax paper, sift together the flour and salt; set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the sugar and continue beating, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the extracts and mix until combined. Reduce the speed to low and using the wax paper as a funnel, add half the flour mixture, then the coconut milk, then the remaining flour mixture. Beat each addition just until incorporated, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Using a rubber spatula, stir in the coconut and lemon zest. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for 1 1/4 hours or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Set the rack over a baking sheet and invert the cake onto the rack.

For the Glaze:
In a small saucepan, combine the water, lemon juice and sugar. Cook over low heat just until the sugar dissolves. Add the mint and simmer for 3 minutes. (If you don't have mint leaves, leave them out and add another Tablespoon of lemon juice or maybe 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract... I think it would be just as good) Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve and discard the mint.  Poke holes over the top of the bundt cake or loaves with a toothpick and spoon the warm cake with the glaze. Let the cake cool completely before serving. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Peanut Butter Popcorn

The other day, Sunday to be exact.... I was canning beans (so I could go to the Eastern Idaho State Fair on the Holiday, instead of staying at home and canning beans) anyway.... while I was in the kitchen watching the pressure cooker I was craving something.... I wanted popcorn but still wanted something sweet. Then I remembered one time for a Young Women's get together, my friend Katy brought Peanut butter popcorn, and when I asked her for the recipe it was the exact same peanut butter stuff I put on my rice crispie treats. So I thought 'why not give it a try!' So I did. This was YUMMO!! but filling as my husband said, so I recommend eating it while warm with lots of friends helping you. It's better while warm and gooey! YUMMO!

Peanut Butter Popcorn

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup corn syrup
1 cup creamy peanut butter
Dash of salt

1 big bowl popped popcorn, (maybe about 16 cups) unpopped kernels removed.

In a large saucepan combine the sugar and corn syrup. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a good boil. Remove from heat and add peanut butter and Dash of salt(I don't add  salt to my rice crispie treats but I figured with popcorn you needed a dash of salt) stir until peanut butter is all melted and mixture is smooth.  Pour over the popped popcorn and toss until all the popcorn is coated with the peanut butter mixture. Eat while still warm and gooey....Enjoy!!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Slow Roasted Pork Carnitas

As you may already know, one of my favorite things to do is sleep in on Saturday mornings, (which usually means sleeping till about 7 ish, then watching cooking shows for about another 1 1/2 hours or until my stomach is growling so loud that I wake everyone else up. Last Saturday, I was watching Rick Bayless- Mexico-One Plate at a Time, and he made this dish. I did pretty much what he did, except I added a few more spices, all he used was salt. This was some of the best pork we had eaten in a long time!! It was easy to do too, most of the cooking was done in the oven while I was at church! We ate ours as tacos with pineapple salsa... and I made the leftover into enchiladas, but would also be good served by itself with refried beans and mexican rice with warm flour tortillas on the side along with salsa and guacamole!!  YUMMMMM!

Slow Roasted Pork Carnitas

 3-4 pounds Pork roast, (I did 2 smaller blade roasts, one boneless, about 2-3 inches thick)
Salt
Black Pepper
Onion powder
Garlic powder
Red Chili pepper
Chipotle powder
Ground Cumin
1/3 cup chicken broth (or water if you don't have any on hand)

Heat overn to 300 degrees. Lay your roast in a large roasting or baking pan. Sprinkle liberally on both side with all of the seasonings. Pour the 1/3 cup chicken broth or water around the meat. Cover tightly with foil and bake for about 3 hours.
After about 3 hours baking, roast should be done and kind of falling apart, but there are a lot of juices. Raise the oven temperature to 450 degrees. Uncover the meat and continue to cook until the liquid has mostly reduced and only the rendered fat remains, this takes about 30 minutes. Now continue to roast, carefully turning the meat every 8 to 10 minutes until the meat is good and brown. (mine fell apart but that's okay you want it kind of shredded). Do this for about another 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven and break apart. Taste to see if you need more salt or pepper or any other seasonings to suit your taste. Serve with warm tortillas, or fill taco shells, whatever you desire!
Enjoy!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Caramel Apple Empanadas (or mini pies)

Apples, apples, apples and more apples....everywhere I look my neighbors have TONS of apples on there trees, I have Tons on mine too, they are just small and sour at the moment. Since my neighbor's tree was overflowing with big nice juicy ones, he was kind enought to let me have a bowl full, or two!! I've made my recipe for Caramel Apple Bars, and I was thinking of all the wonderful appley recipes I could make but I was hungry for the Caramel Apple Empanada's that you can get at Taco Bell. So I looked up recipe after recipe on the internet. There were two variations, one which made a pastry dough using Bisquick or refrigerator bisquick dough, but my favorite was the one using your favorite homemade pie crust, or pie crust dough from the store! I made my own pie crust and a half batch of the recipe using bisquick, both tasted close to the same while still warm, but after cooling I liked the texture of the pie crust better. I cut my dough into squares and folded it over to make a semi-circle shape, but they cracked and weren't too pretty. Next time I make these I'm going to use a large canning lid ring and cut 2 circles of dough for each empanada, placing the filling on one and topping it with the other, then crimping the egdes with a fork. Don't forget to poke a hole or two in the top. I think they will be much prettier that way. But the recipe for the caramel apple filling I came up with (by combining what sounded good from two different recipes) was awesome!! It would even be good by itself  as an Ice cream topping... I might have to give that a try sometime..... YUMMO!
The pic on the left is what I'm going to try to make them look like next time I make them.. the one on the right it how mine looked...not as pretty but good.


Caramel Apple Empanada's
3 to 4 cups diced apples
1 Tablespoon Flour
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon Allspice
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
dash or two of salt
1/2 cup Kraft Caramel Bits
2 Tablespoons butter (if necessary)

Pie Crust
Cinnamon Sugar

In a large skillet melt the 1/4 cup butter over medium heat. While butter is melting add flour and lemon juice to your apples and toss to combine. Once butter has mostly melted, add your apples and saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Then add the brown sugar, seasonings and caramel bits. Stir to combine and continue to cook for 3 to5 minutes more or until your apples are mostly tender and caramel bits have melted.  If your mixture looks a little dry add the other 2 Tablespoons butter and stir until melted, it will smooth out the mixture a little and help give it a creamier texture. Remove from heat.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Prepare a large cookie sheet by lining with parchment paper (you could spray with non-stick cooking spray, but I have become a fan of parchment paper lately!)
Roll out your pie crust on a lightly floured surface, and cut into squares if you want triangle shaped. Or read my hint in the recipe introduction above, using the 2 circles of pie crust dough. Fill with a Tablespoon or so of filling, then crimp the edges to seal, poke a hole in the top with fork, and brush each empanada with melted butter or an egg wash  and sprinkle with a generous coating of cinnamon sugar. (I place my dough on the baking sheet and filled them on there, that way I didn't have to try to lift it from the counter to the cookie sheet)
Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown around the edges and the filling is bubbly. Serve warm with ice cream.... mmmmmmmmmm.

Here's a good pastry recipe I got out of a pie cookbook I have. It's a European-style pastry mostly used for tarts, but if you keep it cold it works good for these. I think it would work great for the 2 circles of dough method since you wouldn't have to fill it and fold it.

Sweet Butter Pastry
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, cold
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup milk or half and half
Stir flour, sugar and salt together in a medium bowl. Work the butter into the flour mixture by rubbing between your thumb and fingers until butter pieces are the siz of small peas. Combin egg yolk and milk . Add to flour mixture and toss with a fork until mixture start to form a ball. If necessarh, add more milk 1 teaspoon at a time  to crumbs in bottom of bowl. Gather dough in your hands and gently shape into a flat ball. Place flatten ball in a piece of saran wrap and let sit in fridge until ready to make your pastries.
You might want to double this recipe so you have enough dough for the caramel apple filling.