Monday, August 30, 2010

French Bread Rolls

Okay I know I have not posted for an entire week. Our house has had every event from illness to company and I have not even had time to cook, let alone blog about the cooking. This week I should be back on track and plan on posting a yummy dessert recipe next. For now, I am pulling this one out that I tried quite a while ago. This is an easy homemade roll and doesn't require eggs or butter, which is also good for those that need dairy-free recipes. It is getting cooler here and warm rolls sound better all the time!

Makes about one dozen rolls
Recipe source: All Recipes

What You Need:
1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups all-purpose flour

In a large bowl, stir together warm water, yeast, and sugar. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
To the yeast mixture, add the oil, salt, and 2 cups flour. Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough has pulled away from the sides of the bowl. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat. Cover with a damp cloth, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

Deflate the dough, and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 12-14 equal pieces, and form into round balls. Place on lightly greased baking sheets at least 2 inches apart. Cover the rolls with a damp cloth and let rise until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

Bake for 12-13 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Honey Lime Enchiladas

As far as white {sour cream} enchiladas go, I have a go-to recipe that I use all the time but I thought I would try something new with this recipe and, wow, they turned out awesome. This is a recipe that I would use for company. It is fool proof, impressive and SO delicious. The honey gives them a slightly sweet taste but its balanced by the tangy lime. Everything comes together with the creamy green sauce over the top. The original recipe calls for a can of green enchilada sauce but I made my own tomatillo sauce. Once I discovered tomatillos and this sauce, I started making it all the time. It really isn't much work at all. You have to put this in your try-it file and make it soon. I promise you will love it as much as we did.

What You Need:
6 tablespoons honey
5 tablespoons lime juice (1 large lime)
1 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 pound chicken, cooked and shredded (I used 3 small chicken breasts)
8-10 flour tortillas
1 pound monterey jack cheese, shredded
Tomatillo sauce {recipe below} OR 16 oz can of green enchilada sauce
1 cup heavy cream

What You Need {Tomatillo Sauce}
1 pound tomatillos, peeled, washed and quartered
1 small onion, cut into chunks
2 jalapenos, seeded and ribs removed

If making tomatillo sauce: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place tomatillos, onion and jalapeno on a baking sheet. Toss all with 2 tablespoons of oil and generous amount of salt, pepper and garlic powder. Roast in oven until edges are browned and soft. Remove and set aside to cool. Once cooled, place all into a food processor or blender and puree.

In a small bowl, mix the honey, lime juice, chili powder and garlic powder and toss with cooked shredded chicken. Let it marinate for at least half an hour.

Pour about one half cup tomatillo or enchilada sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 baking pan. Fill flour tortillas with chicken and shredded cheese, saving about 1 cup of cheese to sprinkle on top of enchiladas. Mix the remaining enchilada or tomatillo sauce with the cream and leftover marinade. Remember you can use your marinade because the chicken was cooked. Pour sauce on top of the enchiladas and sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until brown and crispy on top.


Monday, August 23, 2010

Red Berry Risotto Oatmeal

I saw this recipe at My Kitchen Cafe and wanted to try it because it was so different. I had not heard of using rice and oats together, but it really works out. The end result is a rich and creamy oatmeal and the berries add amazing flavor. This is a healthy, filling breakfast even my little picky eater ate right up!

What You Need:
1/2 cup old fashioned oats or steel-cut oats
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup heavy cream, half and half or milk
6 cups water
1 tablespoon vanilla or 1 vanilla bean scraped
1/2 cup sugar or sugar substitute
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup raspberries, strawberries, blueberries or mixed
OR 1 bag frozen berries

In a rice cooker or large pot add all the ingredients, except the fruit. Cook until done {almost all liquid is absorbed and rice is tender}. If using a pot, bring the mixture to a quick boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, for about 25-30 minutes, stirring often. Add the berries and stir to combine until the berries turn the risotto a light pink. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Fruited Tuna Salad

I haven't always been a fan of combining sweet and savory, such as fruit in green salads, but it is definitely growing on me. This recipe I adapted from a version I saw in Taste of Home and kind of threw it together on a whim for lunch. I had actually seen it awhile ago but was reluctant to try it. I was so surprised at how much I loved this, especially the combination of honey and mayonnaise which I wasn't sure about when making it. The crunch of the celery, apples and almonds is my favorite part. I enjoyed mine as a sandwich  but you can also use a pita or wrap. This was truly yummy and good for you! Give it a try!

What You Need:
1/2 cup mayonnaise {I use Smart Balance Light but fat free would work as well}
1 tablespoon honey
12 oz white albacore water packed tuna, drained
1 can (11 oz.) mandarin oranges, drained
1 medium apple, chopped
1/3 cup slivered almonds
1 rib celery, thinly sliced
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/8 tsp. salt and pepper
alfalfa sprouts or mixed green lettuce
whole wheat bread or pita

In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise and honey. Stir in tuna, apple, pecans, celery and cranberries. Gently fold in the oranges. Top bread or pita with greens followed by the tuna salad. Add salt and pepper to taste, if you like. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Baked Zucchini with Mozzarella

You may have noticed I don't post a ton of vegetable recipes. The main reason for this is that most of the time, I use Bird's Eye Steamfresh to add veggies to dinner. The fact that its super easy is one reason but I their veggies are green, crisp and don't have that "frozen" taste. I also love that there is no produce to go to waste when the veggies are frozen. So there's my product plug. Now, there are some other things we often have in the house such as asparagus and squash. I love zucchini in lots of different ways and thought I would share a version I tried recently. You might even try using a little breadcrumbs or parmesan to get a crispy crust. Sort of that fried zucchini thing without the fried. I might have eaten an entire one by myself...

What You Need:
2 medium sized zucchini
Johnny’s Garlic Spread & Seasoning {If you don't have this or can't find it, just use salt and pepper with garlic powder and some parsley}
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Slice your washed zucchini up into 1/2 inch rings. Lay them out flat on a large cookie sheet. Sprinkle with Johnny’s Garlic Seasoning and a bit of salt {or use the alternative}. Bake in the oven at 350 for about 10-15 minutes or until crisp tender. Take the hot pan out of the oven and sprinkle the zucchini with cheese. Turn the oven to broil, place cookie sheet back into the oven and let the cheese get all bubbly and a bit browned. This should only take about 3-5 minutes. Enjoy!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Greek Pizza on the Grill

So I guess you could view this post as cheating a little, as it combines recipes I've already posted into one new idea. I wanted to use the leftovers from the gyros and came up with this. I basically love it because it throws together two of my very favorite recipes from the summer!

What You Need:

Pizza Dough {Recipe Here}

Marinated, Cooked Chicken, {or skip to make meatless}:

4 cloves garlic, smashed
Juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 heaping tablespoons plain yogurt
1 tablespoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper
1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Kalamata Olives or an olive tapenade
Feta cheese
Red Onion
Fresh Basil would be great
{I also added a little goat cheese to mine}

If you are not using leftovers from gyros like I did, prepare the chicken marinade and let the chicken marinate for at least 2-4 hours. Cooking the chicken is your preference whether you want to grill it, bake it at 375 {20 minutes or until center is no longer pink} or sautee in a fry pan. Set aside.

Prepare pizza dough and have your grill and toppings ready. Again, the recipe and directions are here. It is very easy!

Once one side of your pizza dough is grilled, remove and place on a cookie sheet to put on your toppings. Make sure you are putting the toppings on the browned side! Place your pizza, ungrilled side down, back onto the grill until that side is browned and toppings are hot. Enjoy!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Snickers Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream Frosting

Have I mentioned I love the blog My Baking Addiction? Well, I do. The recipes are simple and everything I have tried turns out delicious. Check it out. Anyway, that is where I found this yummy little cupcake recipe. While it doesn't really fit in with my "Week Of Greek" meal, {like I really thought of trying Baklava or something for you} hopefully you won't mind because these are so great!

*Printable Version*

What You Need: {For the cake}:

1 package devil’s food cake mix
1 6 ounce package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs lightly beaten
1/2 cup warm water
1 teaspoon of vanilla
24-30 frozen Snickers Minis {Make sure Minis and not Fun Size, although you could use Fun Size and cut them in half}

For the frosting:

2 sticks unsalted butter; room temperature
1/2 cup shortening
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 pounds confectioners’ sugar
1/3 cup caramel topping; plus more for drizzling
1/4 teaspoon salt


 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line (2) 12 cup muffin tins with paper liners. In a large bowl, mix together the cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, oil, beaten eggs, vanilla and water. Evenly divide the batter amongst the prepared pans. {I have found just under 1/4 cup is about the right amount}.Gently push a frozen Snickers Miniature bar into the center of the batter and smooth the surface making sure to cover the candy bar with batter. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until top is springy to the touch and a wooden toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Makes 24 cupcakes.

Frosting Directions:
 Cream the butter and shortening in the bowl of an electric or stand mixer. Add the vanilla extract, salt and caramel syrup and combine well. Begin adding in the sugar and mixing thoroughly after each addition. After all of the sugar has been added and mixed thoroughly, give it a taste and decide if you want to add in more caramel syrup. For thicker frosting you can gradually add in a little more sugar.

Garnish with chopped Snickers bars and a drizzle of caramel of caramel syrup. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Easy Rice Pilafe {Lemon Rice}

I learned this super simple recipe from my grandma, who wasn't one to cook with "amounts". I am going to do my best to share this even without because it is the best pilafe you will ever eat. I promise. It is buttery, creamy, lemony goodness and it could not be any easier. I've seen pilafe recipes where you dry out the rice overnight and so on but you don't need to do any of that! You can have this done in 10 minutes with a few simple ingredients. Bear with the vague amounts...some of it you will just have to do to taste.

What You Need:
1 cup instant white rice {or you can mix brown and white, which I have done}
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup lemon juice
salt and pepper
fresh herbs if you like

Melt butter in the bottom of a large saucepan or skillet. Add uncooked rice and toss with the butter. Let the rice brown a bit, stirring often so it does not burn, for 1-2 minutes. Add 1 cup of the chicken broth and 1/4 cup of the lemon juice. Add salt and pepper. Cover and let simmer for about 5 minutes. Now, do a taste test. You are checking to see if the rice needs more liquid and it most likely does. Add liquid in 1/2 cup increments and cover and simmer again, checking each time for the rice being fully cooked. You will also add more lemon juice, if desired, in tablespoon increments as well as more salt and pepper to taste. Throw is some chopped fresh herbs if you like. I do sometimes depending what I have on hand! Once the rice is fully cooked, remove from heat and serve immediately. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Soft Wrap Bread

So here is the wrap bread that I used for the gyros. It turns out soft and delicious and is simple to make. This recipe comes from King Arthur Flour. Because I am still learning and not great at bread, I thought mine could have been better but I saw this recipe floating around the blogosphere and people were in love with it that knew what they were doing! Now these wraps are definitely not just for gyros. They would be great with anything you decide to use them for from lunch to breakfast or warm with honey. Also feel free to substitute whole wheat flour. Your results will be just as good.

What You Need:
3 to 3 1/4 cups (12 3/4 to 13 3/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) boiling water
1/4 cup (1 1/2 ounces) potato flour OR 1/2 cup (5/8 ounces) potato buds or flakes {I used potato buds}
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon instant yeast*

*I did not have instant yeast on hand. If you are not using instant yeast, there are changes you need to make to the directions below and they are noted.*

Place 2 cups of the flour into a bowl or the bucket of a bread machine. Pour the boiling water over the flour, and stir until smooth. Lightly cover the bowl or bucket and set the mixture aside for 30 minutes. *If you are using active dry yeast rather than instant, use only 1 cup water here.*

Also, this is the time to dissolve your active dry yeast in 1/4 cup water and let rest until foamy, about 10 minutes. Then, you will add your yeast mixture in the step below.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the potato flour (or flakes or buds) and 1 cup of the remaining flour with the salt, oil and yeast. Add this to the slightly cooled flour/water mixture, stir, then knead for several minutes (by hand, mixer or bread machine) to form a soft dough. {I needed to add about another 1/4 cup water as my dough was too dry.}

The dough should form a ball, but will remain somewhat sticky. The dough is fairly stiff, so don’t be worried – just be careful not to overflour. Add additional flour only if necessary; if kneading by hand, keep your hands and work surface lightly oiled. Let the dough rise, covered, for about one hour in a warm area.

Divide the dough into 8 pieces (each about the size of a handball, around 3 ounces), cover, and let rest for 15 to 30 minutes. Roll each piece into a 7- to 8-inch circle, and dry-fry them (fry without oil) on a griddle or frying pan over medium heat for about 1 minute per side until they’re puffed and flecked with brown spots. Cool on a wire rack, stacked and covered with foil so they will stay soft until you are ready to serve them. Store extras in a storage bag. Enjoy!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Week of Greek! {Chicken Gyros}

*Photo Courtesy of My Kitchen Cafe*

Recently we had the best greek meal at home and I was looking at the table I realized it would take several posts to share it all with you, therefore starting off the Week of Greek!

Cheesy, I know, but you won't care once you've tasted it.

It was all seriously the best meal I have had in a long time and my picky eater husband loved it too. You know there are recipes you try and they are good, but not memorable or are just okay? Well this one goes in my new dinner rotation. I truly can't wait to make it again. The chicken ends up tender and flavorful. The sauce is creamy and has just the right balance of cucumber and lemon. I will say up front that this meal takes some planning as some of the steps need to be done the night before but it is oh so worth it. The meal included chicken gyros with tzatziki sauce {in a homemade soft wrap bread} and rice pilafe. This week I will share the recipes for all of it. I am starting with the gyros, recipe courtesy of My Kitchen Cafe.

What You Need: {Tzatziki sauce}

16 oz. plain yogurt
1 cucumber, peeled and seeded
2-3 cloves garlic, pressed through a garlic press {or finely minced}
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Extra virgin olive oil

What You Need: {Chicken}:

4 cloves garlic, smashed
Juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 heaping tablespoons plain yogurt
1 tablespoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper
1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Soft wrap bread {recipe coming soon}
Fresh tomatoes, seeded and diced
Red onion, sliced thin
Crumbled Feta cheese
Kalamata Olives

Directions: {The night before}
To make the tzatziki sauce, you either need to use plain Greek yogurt {common brands are Oikos or Fage} or you can use regular plain yogurt. If you use regular yogurt, you will need to strain it for several hours or overnight, if possible, to remove the moisture and acheive a rich, creamy sauce. I had regular yogurt on hand so I did strain mine. I did not purchase cheesecloth and you don't need to, either. I simply took a clean dish towel and laid it over a large bowl. I used clothespins to secure the cloth from falling into the bottom of the bowl. I placed the yogurt right on the dish towel and left in the fridge. You need to let it rest at least 4-6 hours but preferably overnight.

To prepare the chicken, combine the garlic, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, yogurt, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl. Place the chicken and the mixture into a storage bag or dish, over and refrigerate at least 4 hours but preferably overnight.

Directions: {day of}
Shred the cucumber. Wrap in a towel a squeeze to remove as much water as possible. Mix together the strained yogurt, shredded cucumber, garlic, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper to taste, and lemon juice. I just continued adding lemon juice until I had the consistency I wanted, as well as salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle lightly with olive oil. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Cook the chicken as desired, either in the skillet or with the broiler. (I sauted them in a hot skillet.) Once the chicken is completely cooked through, transfer to a plate and let rest for 5 minutes. Cut chicken breasts in half and slice thinly.

 Top pita bread with chicken, tzatziki sauce, tomato, onion, feta, olives or other garnish of your choice. Serve immediately. Enjoy! {But not have to wait until I post the bread and the pilafe!}

Friday, August 6, 2010

Rum Glazed Shrimp & Mango

This recipe comes from the Everyday Food cookbook and is pretty fabulous, I gotta say. Not only is it super quick and easy but the taste is over the top great. If you don't have an outdoor grill you can throw these in a grill pan too. You will not be sorry with this summer dish! Enjoy your weekend!

What You Need:
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice {about 3 limes}
1/4 cup rum
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 pound medium shrimp {32 shrimp}, peeled and deveined, tail on {I always use raw so they will not overcook}
2 ripe mangos, peeled and sliced lengthwise into 16 slivers, each about 1 inch thick
2 tablespoons oil
salt and pepper
8 wood skewers

Place your wood skewers in water to soak for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the 3/4 cup lime juice with the rum, sugar and ginger. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat, simmer, whisking occasionaly, until slightly thickened {about 3 minutes}. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and 1 tablespoon of water. Stir into the lime juice mixture. Cook, stirring until thickened. Remove from heat and let cool.

Once skewers are well soaked, thread the shrimp 4 per skewer. Season on both sides with salt and pepper. Thread the mango slivers onto the skewers using 2 pieces per skewer. Brush the shrimp and mango all over with the reserved glaze.

Heat the grill {or grill pan} to medium-high and oil the grates. Place the shrimp and mango skewers on the grill to cook. Turn once until shrimp are opaque throughout, 3-4 minutes. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Oh and while you're browsing, visit:
Shrimp on Foodista

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Whole Wheat Muffins with Peanut Butter and Banana

I am always looking for ways to do three things: One, get healthy foods into my kid that he will actually eat. Two, change up breakfast so it is not always boring cereal. And three, use my freezer full of overripe bananas. Well this recipe accomplishes all of those things plus I hope a little more for you. School is starting and these would make an absolutely perfect after-school snack. Relatively healthy and with flavors kids enjoy, I don't think you can go wrong. I made quite a few adaptations to the original so I will post both.

What You Need:
1 cup white whole wheat flour { I used 1/2 cup white flour and 1/2 cup whole wheat flour}
2 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 tbsp peanut butter {use natural if you prefer}
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips {I used half chocolate and half cinnamon chips}
1/2 cup ripe mashed bananas (2 bananas should be more than enough}

For Streusel Topping:
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup old fashion rolled oats
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp peanut butter {I used 1 tablespoon peanut butter and 1 tablespoon Nutella}
1 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips {I used cinnamon chips}


Preheat oven to 375. Line muffin tin with paper liners; set aside.

For streusel topping: In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup brown sugar and cinnamon. Cut in peanut butter, Nutella if using, and butter until crumbly. Stir in mini chocolate or cinnamon chips and set aside.

For muffins: In a large bowl, combine the butter and peanut butter and beat with an electric mixer until creamy, about 30 seconds. Add 1/2 cup flour, light brown sugar, 1/4 cup milk, the egg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Beat with electric mixer on low speed until combined. Add remaining flour and milk. Beat on low speed just until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Stir in banana and mini chocolate/cinnamon chips.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling two-thirds full. Generously sprinkle streusel topping over filled muffin cups. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Allow muffins to cool on wire rack for 5 to 10 minutes; serve warm. Makes 12 muffins. Enjoy!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Strawberry Citrus Refresher

I know I post a large amount of recipes that use berries. If you don't like them or can't eat them, please hang in there with me. Its really is just a summertime addiction. They are just too good right now for me not to use them! This is a nice refreshing summer drink that would be great for get-togethers or just to have for your family at home. My little boy thought it was fun squeezing all the lemons, limes and oranges so that might be a fun project for your kiddos too!

What You Need:
1 pound strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 1/2 cups sugar {or you can use a sugar substitute}
2 cups boiling water
1 1/2 cups fresh lemon juice { about 8-10 lemons}
1 cup fresh orange juice {about 4 oranges}
½ cup fresh lime juice {about 6  limes}
6 cups cold water

Combine berries, sugar and boiling water until sugar is dissolved. Use a potato masher or muddler to crush the berries. Let steep for 30 minutes.

Stir in lemon juice, orange juice, and lime juice. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a large pitcher, pressing down on the berries to extract as much juice and pulp as possible. Stir in cold water and serve over ice. Enjoy!