April 29, 2010

Artisan Bread

I've been looking for a crusty age old traditional bread for years. This may not be the French Artisan bread they sell at the store but it's super close. The recipe alone won me over for these simple reasons-

 -It can sit for up to 7days
-you can make it in a plastic container
-you don't knead it!
-it's easy to mix your kids can help
-easy clean up
**** You do need to plan ahead, it takes 14 1/2 hrs in total. 2hr Rising, 12hr resting in fridge + about 40 minutes at room temp before baking****
 Not only are those great facts about it, you can make different variations. Sprinkle it with Cheddar cheese before baking, you can even put it IN the bread, or herbs, poppy seeds on top, sesame seeds...you name it, go ahead and make it your own. It tastes really good, it's got the crusty outside, the fluffy light inside. This is easy!

1 1/2 cups lukewarm water (105°F. to 115°F.) <----- You really need to take the temp of the water!
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups hot water

Water, if desired
Sesame seed, poppy seed or shredded Parmesan cheese, if desired

Combine 1 1/2 cups warm water, yeast, sugar and salt in 2-quart plastic food container or bowl. Stir in flour with wooden spoon until moistened.

(Dough will look wet and be loose enough to conform to the shape of its container.) Cover loosely with lid or plastic food wrap; let stand at room temperature until dough rises and begins to collapse (about 2 hours).

(Top of dough will have a flattened appearance.) Cover loosely; refrigerate overnight or up to 7 days.
The pic below is after 12hrs of resting time

When ready to form loaf, line large baking sheet with parchment paper; sprinkle with cornmeal. Set aside.

With floured hands, stretch and shape (do not knead) dough into 1 (16-inch) or 2 (10-inch) long smooth loaves. Place onto prepared baking sheet; let stand at room temperature, uncovered, 40 minutes. (Loaf will not rise much during this “resting” period.) It may look sloppy, but just stretch it, no need to shape or hassle with tucking ends with this bread!!


Fifteen minutes prior to baking time, place broiler pan or 13x9-inch baking pan onto bottom oven rack; carefully pour 2 cups hot water into pan. Then, heat oven to 450°F.

Cut 5 to 8 (1/4-inch) deep diagonal slits across top of loaf with serrated knife. If desired, brush loaf with water; sprinkle evenly with sesame seed, poppy seed or shredded Parmesan cheese.

Place baking sheet with bread onto middle oven rack. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until crust is golden brown and firm to touch. Cool completely on wire cooling rack.
Mine got left in there too long as my baking stone cracked while baking, it took me a bit to get it out of the oven in one piece. Oops! :)

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April 23, 2010

Bruschetta Chicken Bake

 This recipe is from Kraft. Some days I just want to toss everything together and walk away. This one is it. I play with the taste though, as when I first made it,it was bland to me. I added  more garlic,  an onion, pepper to taste, plus a diced Jalapeno. It's a good sturdy base of a recipe though for quick chicken, so change it up & see if you can make it your own.

1 can (14-1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 pkg. (6 oz.) stove top Stuffing Mix for Chicken
1/2 cup water ( I used veggie stock)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1 tsp. dried basil leaves
1 cup  Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

Mix tomatoes, stuffing mix, water and garlic just until stuffing mix is moistened.
Layer chicken, basil and cheese in 3-qt. casserole or 13x9-inch baking dish.
Top with stuffing. Bake 30 min. or until chicken is done.
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Tingle of Taste

 This snack can be done to your tastes, the basic of this is, french bread, Mozzarella cheese (the ball of cheese, not shredded or the sliced, though sliced could work.) Plus toppings.
    Many may not like this, it's refreshing to me though, a wonderful quick pick me up on any day, it's tasty. I make a Marinated Mozzarella & tomatoes dish for dinner at times, leftovers become this snack, so the cheese has already been marinated in the red wine vinegar. (you can just drizzle the cheese with the vinegar)

Since I throw this together all I do is dice up a yellow onion, Jalapeno, some Cilantro & a tomato. Throw it into a bowl to keep in the fridge. You can make as much as you want, I make this on Sunday & it's ready to be used all week long. Add more of anything you want, or less even if you don't care for the Jalapeno.

Slice up  Mozzarella cheese and drizzle some Red Wine Vinegar on it (about 2tbs depends on if you like the taste of not. I warm it up on a plate in the microwave (for only a few seconds at a time till it's just soft), and place on a slice of french bread. let the bread soak up the vinegar, sprinkle with dill & top with the Tomato/onion mixture.

It's a nice side to a meal too, goes along with some fish :)
Hope you enjoy!

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Chicken Merlot with Mushrooms

This screams comfort to me. It also has a lot of taste, cooked with wine (of course). I've cooked Beef with wine, made gravy with wine, but never chicken before. Let me tell you, this is a perfect pair. Slow cooked all day, it's juicy in every way. You can serve on rice or wide egg noodles.
  When a recipe calls for thighs, take the hint on using thigh meat. This most likely wouldn't do so good with chicken breast meat, that's my opinion.  If you have kiddos & don't want to use wine, you can use chicken broth. I didn't, just because I was feeling bold and wanted nothing more than the full taste of this. We devoured it, and on a plus side my kids feel right to sleep.... Just kidding :) haha

3/4 pound sliced fresh mushrooms
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup Merlot or additional chicken broth
2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca  (I didn't use tapicoa as I don't care for the taste in anything I cook,  used flour instead towards the end to thicken.)
2 teaspoons sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Hot cooked pasta, optional
Place the mushrooms, onion and garlic in a 5-qt. slow cooker. Top with chicken.
In a small bowl, combine the tomato paste, broth, wine, tapioca, sugar, basil, salt and pepper. Pour over chicken. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or until chicken is tender.
Sprinkle with cheese. Serve with pasta if desired.
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Lemon Butter Salmon

Salmon can be done every which way you can come up with just about. Any fish really, but keep in mind each fish has a different taste, so some sauces won't work with others. This is a simple & always tasty dish in my house. I pair it up with green beans, or sugar snap peas with pearl onions, or just a simple salad.
  Remember not to over cook, if it's overcooked even by a few minutes you can taste the dryness of it.

2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 cup butter, cubed
6 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
5 salmon fillets or steaks (6 ounces each)
In a small skillet, saute garlic in butter; whisk in the lemon juice, salt, pepper and pepper sauce. Transfer 2/3 cup to a serving bowl; set aside.
Place salmon in a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Drizzle with remaining lemon butter. Broil 4-6 in. from the heat for 10-15 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Serve with reserved lemon butter.
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April 5, 2010

Angel Lush Cake

This cake is made very often during Spring & Summer. With Fresh berries and even fresh pineapple it is a wonderful light tangy change from a frosted cake. Angel food cake is one of my all time favorite cakes ever! My Grandmother always had one for any holiday and most family gatherings that I can remember :) She had me hooked!

Angel Food Cake-

18 egg whites
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 pinch salt
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 cup cake flour
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F ). Sift cake flour and confectioners sugar together 5 times and set aside.
2.In a large clean bowl, whip egg whites with a pinch of salt until foamy. Add cream of tartar and continue beating until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar while beating, and continue to beat until very stiff. Add vanilla
3.Quickly fold in flour mixture. Pour into a 10 inch tube pan.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes.
** Take out of oven, and turn upside down (don't take out of pan) Rest on a glass bottle or anything else. You dont' want it touching the cake, just the pan. When it's cooled, run a long knife along edge and center. Cool Completely!!


1 can (20 oz.) DOLE Crushed Pineapple in Juice, undrained
1 pkg. (3.4 oz.) JELL-O Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding
1 cup thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping
1 round angel food cake, cut into 3 layers
 fresh strawberries (I use blueberries & raspberries as well,)
** The recipe doesn't say to layer berries in each layer, I just do that myself. **

MIX pineapple and dry pudding mix. Gently stir in cool whip.I usually end up putting the mixture back in the fridge for awhile till it's cold enough.


Stack cake layers on plate, spreading pudding mixture between layers and on top of cake. (and berries if you want, just don't over do it as it can make the cake lopsided & even a tad too soggy if it sits too long. )

Refrigerate 1 hour. Top with berries.
I love looking at this one :) It's too pretty!
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Italian Leg of Lamb

 This is by far the best recipe that I've come across for Leg of Lamb. You can add your own seasonings if you favor some already, think of any recipe with seasonings for meat, a basic start. I added Rosemary to the Lamb along with Thyme.
1/2 to 2/3 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup Olive Oil
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground mustard
1 teaspoon garlic powder
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 boneless leg of lamb (4 to 5 pounds)
In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, oil and seasonings. Pour half of the marinade into a large resealable plastic bag; add lamb. Seal bag and turn to coat; refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Cover and refrigerate remaining marinade.
Drain and discard marinade from lamb. Place lamb fat side up on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Bake, uncovered, at 325° for 2-1/4 to 3 hours or until meat reaches desired doneness (for medium, a meat thermometer should read 160°; well-done, 170°), basting occasionally with reserved marinade. Let stand for 10-15 minutes before slicing.
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Sauteed Vegetables

This is a easy side for many dinners. It can also be done with different vegetables, so treat this like a basic to start with & add in your own tastes. You can see a picture with Parmesan Crusted Chicken

2 medium zucchini, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 medium yellow summer squash, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1/3 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon Light Olive Oil or Canola Oil
6 medium plum tomatoes, chopped (plum is ideal as they keep their shape)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Grated Parmesan cheese
In a large skillet, saute the zucchini, squash and onion in oil for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, salt and pepper. Cook and stir until vegetables are tender. Sprinkle with cheese.
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Two Parts Chicken :)

A friend emailed one of her recipes for chicken which is called "Butter crusted Chicken" It came From Jolene R. It's easy and you can redo it anyway you want , which I already have, but first her recipe (she says it's all by guess more or less, so give or take on measuring)

Jolene's Butter Crusted Chicken-

Chicken breast, how ever many you need.
2 eggs
1 pack of ritz crackers, make into crumbs.
4- tablespoons of butter in 1 tablespoon pieces
seasoning of choice. I use seasoning salt, garlic powder and pepper.

Preheat oven to 375
-Rise, dry and trim chicken breast
-Crack 2 eggs into shallow bowl.
-In another shallow bowl place seasonings and ritz cracker crumbs. Mix together.

-Run chicken through egg
-Place chicken into cracker crumbs. Turn to cover all of chicken
-Put chicken into a baking dish. I use an 8x8

She puts extra crumbs on top of chicken because they like the crunch. Place the 4 individual tablespoons of butter on top of chicken.

Bake for about an hour or until 180 of meat thermometer.

This is what I came up after I tried her recipe -First pic is with Tenders, second with the thigh

Parmesan Crusted Chicken (with sauteed veggies)
1/2 cup crushed cornflakes
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese ( I used shredded to be bold , hehe)
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1-1/2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
6 tablespoons butter, melted **
1 broiler/fryer chicken (2 to 3 pounds), cut up and skin removed (I used half thighs & half chicken tenders)

In a shallow bowl, combine the first six ingredients. Place butter in another shallow bowl. Dip chicken in butter, then roll in cornflake mixture.
Arrange chicken on a rack in a foil-lined 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 45-50 minutes or until chicken juices run clear.

** By the time I got to the last few pieces, I used thighs & a lot of chicken tender cuts, so it was a lot, I ended up added an egg to the butter mixer to keep it lasting. Worked out just fine. **
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Seared Scallops in Garlic Butter Sauce

Scallops are not my fav seafood, with that in mind when I first tried making them a couple years ago, I was completely nervous. For a few reasons, one, scallops are soft & squishy, you cook something that's soft it's going to get tough. Scallops only cook for a few minutes on each side, you cannot walk away from scallops in a pan (trust me) Second, I never tasted them the first time I cooked them, so not having a taste to go by, or even a picture of a finished scallop I had no reference what so ever.
It's not easy to cook something you've never seen or tasted before, even if it's a simple recipe. Which this one is, but I'll calm your nerves with a little fact. This very recipe can be used on Shrimp. And that, my friends is a winner. If you can do shrimp you can do scallops, nothing scary about it. Even if it is squishy!

There's 2 ways I've done scallops in the past, One- Just cooked till opaque, Two- cooked till the top is browned. So it doesn't need to be browned on top (which I thought it did at first)

Scallops in Garlic butter Sauce-

1 pounds fresh or frozen sea scallops
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons dry white wine
1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives or parsley
1/8 teaspoon salt
1. Thaw scallops, if frozen. Rinse scallops; pat dry with paper towels.

2. In a 12-inch skillet cook garlic in 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium-high heat for 30 seconds. Add the scallops. Cook, stirring frequently, for 2 to 3 minutes or until scallops turn opaque. Remove from skillet and transfer to a serving platter. Add remaining 1 tablespoon butter and wine to the skillet. Cook and stir to loosen any browned bits. Pour over scallops; sprinkle with chives and salt.

3. Makes 4 servings

4. Seared Shrimp in Garlic Butter: Prepare as above, except substitute 1-1/2 pounds fresh or frozen medium shrimp in shells for the scallops. Thaw shrimp, if frozen. Peel and devein shrimp, leaving tails intact. Rinse shrimp; pat dry with paper towels. Cook shrimp in the butter and garlic for 1 to 3 minutes or until shrimp turn opaque. Continue as above.
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