Monday, November 21, 2011

English Muffins and Chocolate Cut out Cookies

I wanted to make cut out turkey cookies for the kids to take to school. I made this chocolate cookie recipe and it did not work at all. I could have made it work, but the problem was I had to get so many cookies out of it for the kids to take to school, that it would never had been enough. So, I rolled them into balls and tossed my ideas out the window:( Then Jase decided he didn't like them, so I wound up making chocolate chip for him to take. So, not thanksgiving related, but oh well. They did taste ok, but from not on I'll stick to my normal cutout recipe.

Best Chocolate cutout Cookies
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1 egg
Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; set aside. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg. Gradually stir in the sifted ingredients to form a soft dough. Divide dough into 2 pieces, flatten and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/8 inch in thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Dough is sticky so be sure to add more flour to the rolling surface as needed. Place cookies 1 1/2 inches apart onto cookie sheets.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

I made this recipe a while back but decided to try again. We've loved them both times. They don't taste like a traditional Thomas English Muffin, but oh so good. In fact, as I was watching Gui Fieri this morning make eggs benedict, these look like the english muffin recipe he used. This is so easy, I'd never buy them again! (I do use the rings, I tried them with and without and with definetely gets them to rise nicely although it is not necessary). (Note this is very similar to the Alton Brown recipe but has a few modifications)

English Muffins
1 cup reduced fat milk
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt (divided use)
1 tablespoon shortening
1 envelope dry yeast
1/8 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup water
2 cups of flour (9 oz)
Heat milk in a microwave-safe measuring cup just until it boils. Add sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and stir to dissolve. Stir in shortening and let cool to about 120 degrees F.
In a separate bowl or measuring cup, combine the yeast and 1/3 cup of warm (115 degree) water. Let rest until yeast bubbles (proof).
In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, yeast mixture and milk mixture. Beat thoroughly with wooden spoon. Cover the bowl and let it rest in for 30 minutes in a warm place.
Preheat a lidded sauté pan or skillet to 300 degrees (on my stove, it was low). A pan with non-stick surface won’t cook the bottom quite so much, but if all you have is a regular metal bottom pan, you can use that. I didn’t grease either pan.
Add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt to flour and beat thoroughly. Place metal (or homemade foil) rings onto the skillet.
Using a heaping 1/3 cup or a little less than ½ cup measure, spoon dough into rings, cover skillet cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the lid and turn rings using spatula (Alton used tongs). Cover with the lid and cook for another 5 to 6 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a rack. Remove rings and cool. Split with fork and serve.
Note: Make your own rings using non-stick foil or greased regular foil. Take a sheet an 11 by 11 inch sheet of foil and foil it over twice or just mold it until you have a stick that’s about 1 ½ inches high by 11 inches. Fold it into a 3 inch (ish) ring. Secure it with another little strip of foil wrapped around where the ends come together.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Angel Chicken Pasta

This was just ok. I'm not sure I'd make again. It was edible and ok, but not great. I enjoy the golden mushroom soup in beef stroganoff but not sure I liked it with the chicken. I used chicken broth in place of the white wine and I also used plain cream cheese and added in some fresh basil I had to use up.

Angel Chicken Pasta
6 skinless, boneless chicken breast
1/4 cup butter
1 (.7 ounce) package dry Italian-style
salad dressing mix
1/2 cup white wine
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed golden
mushroom soup
4 ounces cream cheese with chives
1 pound angel hair pasta
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
In a large saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Stir in the package of dressing mix. Blend in wine and golden mushroom soup. Mix in cream cheese, and stir until smooth. Heat through, but do not boil. Arrange chicken breasts in a single layer in a 9x13 inch baking dish. Pour sauce over.
Bake for 60 minutes in the preheated oven. Twenty minutes before the chicken is done, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a rolling boil. Cook pasta until al dente, about 5 minutes. Drain. Serve chicken and sauce over pasta

Monday, November 14, 2011

Whole Wheat Raisin Bread, Onion Straws, and Sweet Potato Casserole

I did a lot of cooking and baking this weekend and these were all new recipes. We really enjoyed them all.

I saw the Cinnamon Raisin Bread a while back in Food Network Magazine and decided to give it a try. It is a healthier bread. I used white whole wheat flour instead of the whole wheat flour. It was a nice light bread. Its not overly sweet. I used my stand mixer with the dough hook instead of the bread machine and it turned out well. I added 1 TBSP of sugar and 1/2 tsp of maple extract. I also sprinled the top with cinnamon sugar.

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Raisin Bread
From Food Network Magazine
2 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
2 cups whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
1 large egg
2 tablespoons canola oil, plus more for brushing
3 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
Cooking spray
2/3 cup raisins
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
Make the dough.
Measure out 1 1/4 cups very warm water and check the temperature; it should be 120 degrees F to 130 degrees F. Combine both flours, the dry milk, egg, canola oil, honey, salt, yeast and warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix 3 minutes on the lowest setting, then increase to the next highest setting and mix 5 more minutes. The dough should be soft and sticky.
Let it rise.
Transfer the dough to a large bowl coated with cooking spray. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until the dough has nearly doubled in size, about 1 hour, 30 minutes.
Soak the raisins.
Dry raisins will rob moisture from the bread, so soak them first in boiling water until plump, about 30 minutes. Drain and pat dry.
Fold the dough.
Transfer the dough to a floured work surface. Picture it as a loose square. Lift up one side of the dough and fold about one-third of it across; press down on the dough with spread fingers to remove any air bubbles. Repeat with the remaining 3 sides of the dough.
Add the filling.
Mist two 9-by-5-inch loaf pans with cooking spray. Divide the dough in half; roll out each half into an 8-inch square. Brush each square with canola oil, then sprinkle with the cinnamon (it's high in antioxidants!), brown sugar and raisins.
Form the loaves.
Roll up each square of dough into a tight cylinder; place seam-side down in the prepared pans. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until the dough fills the pans and springs back when touched, about 1 hour, 30 minutes.
Bake the bread.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Brush the loaves with canola oil and bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the pans and transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Next was the sweet potato casserole. I made twice baked sweet potatoes a few weeks back and this was similar to the filling in them. Very Good. I had left over Land o Lakes Cinnamon Butter Spread and I used that. I may cut down on that next time as it left it a little too spicy. I also used 1/2 the sugar in the filling and it was plenty sweet enough.

Sweet Potato Casserole V
3 cups cooked and mashed sweet
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup eggnog
2 tablespoons margarine, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 egg whites
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Coat one 2 quart baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
Combine the mashed sweet potatoes, 1/3 cup brown sugar, eggnog, melted margarine, vanilla extract, salt and egg whites. Spoon mixture into the prepared baking dish.
Combine the 1/2 cup brown sugar and flour. Cut in the chilled 2 tablespoons margarine until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over the sweet potato mixture.
Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes

These were really good too. We put them on top of hamburgers with pumpkin rolls and BBQ sauce. I baked them and you really couldn't tell they weren't fried. I recently bought a pizza screen to use with my pizza stone and these worked perfectly on this.

Crispy Onion Straws – Baked or Fried
1 whole large yellow onion
2 cups buttermilk
2 tbsp hot sauce – or more if you like it hotter
1 cup cornmeal
½ cup flour
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
Vegetable Oil for frying
Cooking spray for baking
Begin by slicing the onion into thin ¼ inch rings. In a large bowl, combine the buttermilk and hot sauce; add the sliced onion and toss to coat. Let the onions sit in the buttermilk for at least 30 minutes.
In a large dish, mix the cornmeal, flour, paprika, salt and pepper. Carefully drain the onions and toss, in batches, in the cornmeal mixture. Shake off any excess cornmeal and set aside to either fry or bake.
To Fry:Place a heavy bottomed pot over medium high heat and fill with 2 ½ - 3 inches of vegetable oil. Heat the vegetable oil to 350 degrees. Working in batches, fry the onions for about 3-4 minutes, or until golden brown. Carefully drain and set aside on a paper towel lined dish. Sprinkle with a little salt as soon as they come out of the oil.
To Bake:
Preheat an oven to 425 degrees and place a cooling rack on top of a baking sheet. The cooling rack will let the heat of the oven penetrate all sides of the onion making them crispy.
Lay the onions evenly on top of the rack without overcrowding. Liberally spray the onions with cooking spray and place in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until brown and crispy. Sprinkle with salt when they come out of the oven.Continue reading on Crispy onion straws - baked or fried - Norfolk Cooking

Friday, November 11, 2011

Maple Pecan Streusel Pumpkin Bread

This bread was excellent. I made three mini loaves and one was gone the first night. A nice twist on pumpkin bread. The maple flavor really showed through.

Maple Pecan Streusel Pumpkin Bread
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 egg
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup unsalted butter, chilled
1/4 cup pecans, chopped

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and place a rack in the middle. Butter a 9 inch loaf pan then fit a piece of parchment paper inside the pan with a little overhang to grasp easily. Set it aside.
Whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and pumpkin pie spice in a small bowl.
In a larger bowl mix the pumpkin puree, sugar, maple syrup, egg and oil. Add the dry ingredients and blend until it's just combined.
In a small bowl whisk together the flour, sugar and pumpkin pie spice then cut in the butter with a pastry blender or two knives until it resembles pea sized chunks. Toss it with the chopped pecans.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth out the top with a spatula. Sprinkle the streusel evenly over the top.
Bake it for 30 – 40 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let it cool in the pan for about 5 – 10 minutes before lifting it out using the parchment paper overhang to cool completely on a rack. Slice and enjoy!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Arrabbiata Sauce

This sauce was great. I browned garlic, onion, and green and red pepper in oil and then threw all in the crockpot. I also added some jarred spaghetti sauce to it. It was great.

Arrabbiata Sauce
From: All Recipes
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
3/8 cup red wine (I used beef broth)
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons tomato paste (I used spaghetti sauce)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 (14.5 ounce) cans peeled and diced
tomatoes (I used one can of red pepper and fennel tomatoes, and one can of spicy red pepper tomatoes)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Heat oil in a large skillet or saucepan over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic in oil for 5 minutes.
Stir in wine, sugar, basil, red pepper, tomato paste, lemon juice, Italian seasoning, black pepper and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer uncovered about 15 minutes.
Stir in parsley. Ladle over the hot cooked pasta of your choice

Monday, November 7, 2011

Orange Cranberry Bagels

These were very good. I made them into 9 mini bagels and one small loaf of bread. I did not boil the bread but did the bagels. I substituted orange juice for 1/4 cup of water and eliminated the orange peel. I also did not put in the cloves and used cinnamon sugar instead. Very good!

Orange Cranberry Bagels
From: Healthy Cooking Magazine
1 cup plus 4 tablespoons water (70° to 80°), divided
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
4-1/2 teaspoons grated orange peel
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3 cups bread flour
1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 egg white
1 tablespoon cornmeal
In bread machine pan, place 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons water,
cranberries, brown sugar, orange peel, salt, cloves, flour and yeast
in order suggested by manufacturer. Select dough setting (check
dough after 5 minutes of mixing; add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water or
flour if needed).
When cycle is completed, turn dough onto a lightly floured surface.
Shape into nine balls. Push thumb through centers to form a 1-in.
hole. Stretch and shape dough to form an even ring. Cover and let
rest for 10 minutes; flatten rings slightly.
Fill a Dutch oven two-thirds full with water; add sugar and bring to
a boil. Drop bagels, two at a time, into boiling water. Cook for 45
seconds; turn and cook 45 seconds longer. Remove with a slotted
spoon; drain on paper towels.
Whisk egg white and remaining water; brush over bagels. Coat a baking
sheet with cooking spray and sprinkle with cornmeal. Place bagels 2
in. apart on prepared pan. Bake at 400° for 18-22 minutes or
until golden brown. Remove to wire racks to cool. Yield: 9 bagels.