Friday, February 25, 2011

Baked French Toast Sticks

We all know kids like to eat things they can dip, and there are fast food chains out there who serve up french toast sticks, as well as the frozen food section. We had long ago tried the frozen variety and I thought they were just really greasy and soggy and didn't buy them again. Well here is a way to make your own at home, baked, hot from the oven. My little food critic said that these were the "best breakfast ever" and that we should make them all the time! Now that being said, I knew my little boy would not want the crunchy coating so I only coated half of the pieces in cornflakes and gave him the plain. {So picky!} But personally I loved the crunchy coating so decide according to your taste!

*Printable Version*

What You Need:
6 slices texas toast {preferably day old}
4 eggs
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup crushed cornflakes or frosted flakes
powdered sugar, optional

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare a greased baking sheet.
Cut each piece of bread into thirds and place into a 13x9 baking dish.
Whisk together the eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon and pour over the top of the bread, turning to coat. Place the coated pieces on the greased baking sheet and sprinkle with the crushed cereal, if desired. Turn to do both sides, if desired. Bake for 8-10 minutes on each side or until golden. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired. Serve with syrup for dipping. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Hot & Sweet Drumsticks

99 percent of the time, I use boneless skinless chicken breasts when cooking at home. However every time I pick up some drumsticks for grilling or when I come across a recipe like this one, I am reminded how much I love them. For one, they always end up tender and flavorful. And two, they are incredibly inexpensive. I tried this recipe from Pioneer Woman for an easy weeknight meal and we loved them! These don't end up being too spicy, so if you like a little more heat you could increase the hot sauce or add some red pepper flakes. This is an easy, affordable weeknight meal and you may have all the ingredients on hand. Later this week I will be posting the creamy herbed potatoes we had with them!

Photo Used from Pioneer Woman

*Printable Version*

What You Need:
1 cup Apricot Preserves
½ cups Ketchup
¼ cups Soy Sauce
2 teaspoons Minced Garlic
2 teaspoons Hot Pepper Sauce
3 pounds Drumsticks (about 12)


Preheat oven to 350F. In a small saucepan, combine preserves, ketchup, soy sauce, garlic and hot pepper sauce. Cook and stir over medium-low heat until preserves are melted.

Arrange drumsticks in a single layer on a 13 x 9″ baking pan. Pour sauce over drumsticks, turning to coat. Bake, uncovered, for 40-45 minutes or until chicken is done, spooning sauce over drumsticks while baking. Serves 6. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Honey Whole Wheat Bread

Lately I have been into making homemade bread, something I have not ever been great at doing, but am always determined to get better. Recently I saw this incredibly easy recipe posted on The Polka Dot Umbrella and it sounded so easy I had to try it. On a side note, this is such a fun blog. Jenni has put together a place you can find ideas for sewing, furniture refinishing, crafts, recipes and all kinds of fun things, so make sure you check it out.

Anyway, twice last week on two separate sites I found people posting bread recipes that they got from a book called "Artisan Breads in Five Minutes a Day", including this one. I have tried both and we all loved them. I think its a book I need to get. I will be posting some garlic pull-aparts that were awesome.

The one thing I did do differently for this recipe was to use my stand mixer with the dough hook, but you do not have to. I am just too pregnant and lazy to stir that dough on my own. This bread was really effortless. It makes a nice, hearty wheat bread that has been great for toast and sandwiches.

*Printable Version*

Makes {2} 9 inch loaves
What You Need:
1/4 cup cooking oil 
1/2 cup honey
3 cups lukewarm water
1.5 tablespoons yeast 
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt OR 1 tablespoon regular salt
6 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and prepare your bread pans. Combine the oil, honey, water, yeast and salt in a large mixing bowl or in your stand mixer bowl. Begin adding the flour several cups at a time until you have a very sticky and wet dough. Resist the urge to bring it to a dry dough that pulls away from the sides as you might be used to. Once everything is combined well, cover with a towel and let rise for 2 to 3 hours. 

Divide the dough in half, and shape into two loaves, placing them into your prepared pans. Rub a small amount of oil over the tops of each loaf. Bake 45-55 minutes. {Mine were done at 45 and the original stated 52}. Remove from pans and cool on a wire rack. Enjoy!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

Here is a fun Valentine dessert idea. Red Velvet is my favorite cake! Here is also a quick list of ideas for other Valentines day treats for the people you love!

Strawberry Cream Puff Pie

Chicken in Basil Cream

Lemon Sugar Crusted Blueberry Muffins

Asian Beef Flank Steak

Fresh Lemon Cream Crepes

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies:

*Printable Version*

What You Need: {Whoopies}
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup vegetable shortening
½ cup light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 teaspoons red food coloring
1 cup buttermilk

{For the cream cheese filling}:
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3½ cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

2. Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat together the butter, shortening and both sugars on low speed until just combined. Increase the speed to medium and beat until fluffy and smooth, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and the red food coloring and beat until just blended.

4. Add half of the flour mixture and half of the buttermilk to the batter and beat on low until just incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the remaining flour mixture and remaining ½ cup buttermilk and beat until completely combined.

5. Using a spoon or cookie scoop, drop a tablespoon of batter onto one of the prepared baking sheets and repeat, spacing them at least 2 inches apart. Bake one sheet at a time for about 10 minutes each, or until the cakes spring back when pressed gently. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the cakes cool on the sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely.

6. While the cakes are cooling, prepare the filling. Beat together the cream cheese and butter on medium speed. Add the sugar and beat on low speed until combined. Add the vanilla and increase the speed to medium-high; beat until creamy and smooth, about 4 minutes.

7. To assemble: Spread the filling onto the flat side of one cake using a knife or pipe on with a tip. Top it with another cake, flat-side down. Repeat with the rest of the cakes and filling.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Easy & Delicious Fried Rice

I love when a recipe can be extremely simple and fast, but flavorful and versatile all at the same time. Not an easy combination to find! This past week a local television show (Good Things Utah) demonstrated a recipe for fried rice that I really wanted to try. I've made other, more complicated versions and this one seemed really easy and didn't involve specialty ingredients. I enjoyed it but did make a few adaptations for my personal taste. Click here to be linked to the original recipe, and below is my slightly different version. This recipe makes a huge amount, just so that you are aware! I think this would be a great use for leftover ham or chicken, especially since you probably have all of the other ingredients {rice, eggs, frozen veggies} on hand. You can also add whatever vegetables you like, including broccoli, snow peas or water chestnuts. I added bean sprouts to mine. I also liked the idea of grating the carrots since they take a significant amount of time to cook if you slice them. However, if you want them larger, I would think you could pre-boil them or use frozen. I love this recipe and will be using it again!

*Printable Version*

What You Need:
2 cups cubed ham {Note that the orginal recipe uses chicken and shrimp would be great also}
6 scrambled eggs
2 carrots, grated
1/2 medium onion, chopped
3/4 cup frozen peas
3/4 cup bean sprouts
1/2 cup butter
1-2 garlic cloves, minced OR 1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
4 cups cooked rice {I prefer to cook mine in chicken broth rather than water}
1/4 cup soy sauce plus more to taste, if you like

~Prepare rice according to package directions and set aside. I did not use instant.
~Scramble 6 eggs in a large pan and set aside.
~In a large wok or separate frying pan, sautee onion in a tablespoon of oil until soft and add carrots and cubed ham. Add frozen peas and bean sprouts. Add rice and soy sauce to the mixture.
~Melt 1/2 cup butter. Add garlic and ginger to the butter, stir, and add to rice mixture.
~Mix all together well and let simmer for 5 minutes. Add more soy sauce to taste and enjoy!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Pizza Dip & Lemon Cheesecake Fruit Dip {Two For One}

With Superbowl coming up this weekend, I thought I would share two dip ideas, one savory and one sweet. I would love to have a party but just don't have the energy at 7 or so months pregnant! I do plan on making some yummy snacks for just our family. I really want to try these. Don't they look fun? Anyway, both of these are some of my favorites. Give them a try!

*Printable Version*

Lemon Cheesecake Fruit Dip:

1 {6 oz}container lemon flavored yogurt
1 {7 oz} container marshmallow cream
1 {8 oz} container whipped cream cheese
Zest of one lemon {Optional}

Combine all above ingredients into a medium size bowl and blend with a mixer until smooth. Mix in zest of one lemon if desired. Serve with apples, strawberries or your favorite fruit!

Hot Pizza Dip:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
14 oz jar pizza sauce
1.5 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
16 oz can black olives
2 oz sliced pepperoni

Press cream cheese into the bottom of 9 inch square or pie pan. Spread pizza sauce over the cream cheese and layer the remaining ingredients in order. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.